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TRANSLATED FROM 
THE RED HOf )K OF 
HERGEST 1$Y LADY 
CHARLOTTE GUKST 
VGI>. I. LONDON 
T. FLSHER UNWIN 



) 



Ztbe Mclab Xibrar^ 

Edited by Owp:n Edwards 



THE MABINOGION 



^h^ JlabiiWQtxin 




''Bearing a spear of mighty size, with three streams of blood 
flowing from the point to the ground." 




THEMABI 
NOGION 

TRANSLATED FROM 
THE RED BOOK OF 
HERGEST BY LADY 
CHARLOTTE GUEST 
VOL. L LONDON 
T. FISHER UNWIN 
II PATERNOSTER 
BUILDINGS. MXCII 




VOLUME I. 

THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 
PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 
THE DREAM OF RHONABWY 



INTRODUCTION. 

More than half a century ago Lady Charlotte Guest 
gave The Mabinogion to English readers in the form 
which, probably, will ever most delight them. Her 
transcript of the Red Book of Hergest was not 
perfect, she found the meaning of many a Welsh 
phrase obscure, but her rendering is generally very 
accurate; and the Celtic tales retain in their new 
dress much of the charm, which so often evades the 
translator, of a perfect style formed by generations of 
narrating. 

The Red Book of Hergest, from which The 
Mabinogion are taken, is a collection of tales and 
poems written during the fourteenth century. Some 
of the Mabinogion in it have been reconstructed in 
Norman and Crusading times, but they contain 
reminiscences of a more distant period, often but half 
understood by the later story-teller. Among these are 
"The Dream of Rhonabwy," "The Lady of the 
Fountain," and " Peredur the son of Evrawc " — the 
three which happen to come first in the Red Book, 
These are Christian, but with distant glimpses of 

9 



lO INTRODUCTION 

Celtic heathenism. The adventures are all grouped 
around Arthur and his knights ; and a kind of 
connection is given to the three tales by the presence 
of Owen and his mysterious ravens. 

Others, especially the four Mabinogion properly so 
called and the Tale of Lludd and Llevelys, are far 
older; they are older than Christianity, and older 
than Arthur. 

In this new edition of Lady Guest's translation I 
have put, in the form of footnotes, what appears to me 
to be a more correct or a more literal rendering of 
some of the passages of the Welsh. This course 
makes it unnecessary to tamper with the charming 
translation that has become a classic of the English 
language. 

I am very grateful to the Principal and Fellows of 
Jesus College for access to the Red Book, to Dr J. 
Gwenogvryn Evans for permission to use his edition 
and to Lord Wimborne (the Ivor of Lady Guest's 
dedication) for information kindly given. 

OWEN EDWARDS. 



Lincoln College, 
Oxford, is^ March 1902. 



TO IVOR AND MERTHYR 

My dear Children, 

Infants as you yet are, I feel that I cannot 
dedicate more fitly than to you these venerable relics 
of ancient lore, and I do so in the hope of inciting 
you to cultivate the Literature of " Gwyllt Walia,'' in 
whose beautiful language you are being initiated, and 
amongst whose free mountains you were born. 

May you become early imbued with the chivalric 
and exalted sense of honour, and the fervent patriot- 
ism for which its sons have ever been celebrated. 

May you learn to emulate the noble qualities of 
Ivor Hael, and the firm attachment to your Native 
Country, which distinguished that Ivor Bach, after 
whom the elder of you was named. 

I am. 

Your affectionate Mother, 

C. E. GUEST. 

DowLAis, 29M August 1838. 



11 



CONTENTS 

THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN . . . . 1 5 

PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC . . . . 5 1 

THE DREAM OF RHONABWY I07 



13 




THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN, 



King Arthur^ was at Caerlleon upon Usk; and 
one d^y he sat in his chamber ; and with him 
were Owain the -son of Urien, and Kynon the 
son of Clydno, and Kai the son of Kyner; and 
Gwenhwyvar and her hand-maidens at needlework 
by the window. And if it should be said that 
there was a porter at Arthur's palace, there was 
none. Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr was there, acting as 
porter, to welcome guests and strangers, and to 
receive them with honour, and to inform them of 

^ ** The Emperor Arthur " all through the tale. 

15 



l6 THE MABINOGION 

the manners and customs of the Court; and to 
direct those who came to the Hall or to the 
presence chamber, and those who came to take 
up their lodging. ^ 

In the centre of the chamber king Arthur sat, 
upon a seat of green rushes, over which was 
spread a covering of flame-coloured satin ; and a 
cushion of red satin was under his elbow. 

Then Arthur spoke, "If I thought you would 
not disparage me,'' said he, *'I would sleep while I 
wait for my repast ; and you can entertain one 
another with relating tales, and can obtain a 
flagon of mead and some meat from Kai." And 
the King went to sleep. And Kynon the son of 
Clydno asked Kai for that which Arthur had 
promised them. "I too will have the good tale 
which he promised to me," said Kai. "Nay," an- 
swered Kynon, "fairer will it be for thee to fulfil 
Arthur's behest in the first place, and then we 
will tell thee the best tale that we know." So 
Kai went to the kitchen and to the mead-cellar, 
and returned, bearing a flagon of mead, and a 
golden goblet, and a handful of skewers upon 
which were broiled collops of meat. Then they 
ate the collops and began to drink the mead. 
^*Now" said Kai, "it is time for you to give me 
my story." "Kynon," said Owain, "do thou pay 
to Kai the tale that is his due." "Truly," said 
Kynon, "thou art older, and are a better teller of 
tales, and hast seen more marvellous things than 
I ; do thou therefore pay Kai his tale." " Begin 

^ To begin to honour them, to inform them of the manners 
and the customs of the Court, those he was told were to go to 
the hall or the presence chamber, and those he was told were 
to get lodging. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 1/ 

thyself," quoth Owain, **with the best that thou 
knowest." ** I will do so," answered Kynon. 

"I was the only son of my mother and father; 

and I was exceedingly aspiring, and my daring 

was very great. I thought there was no enterprise 

in the world too mighty for me, and after I had 

achieved all the adventures that were in my own 

country,^ I equipped myself, and set forth to journey 

through deserts, and distant regions. And at 

length it chanced that I came to the fairest valley 

in the world, wherein were trees of equal growth ; 

and a river ran through the valley, and a path 

was by the side of the river. And I folio w^ed 

the path until mid-day, and continued my journey 

along the remainder of the valley until the evening ; 

and at the extremity of a plain I came to a large 

and lustrous Castle, at the foot of which was a 

torrent. And I approached the Castle, and there 

I beheld two youths, with yellow curling hair, each 

with a frontlet of gold upon his head, and clad in a 

garment of yellow satin ; and they had gold clasps 

upon their insteps. In the hand of each of them 

was an ivory bow, strung with the sinews of the stag ; 

and their arrows had their shafts of the bone of the 

whale, and were winged with peacock's feathers. The 

shafts also had golden heads. And they had daggers 

with blades of gold, and with hilts of the bone of the 

w^hale. And they were shooting their daggers. 

" And a little way from them, I saw a man ^ in the 
prime of life, with his beard newly shorn, clad in a 
robe and a mantle of yellow satin; and round the 

^ And I did not think there was in the world a wrong too 
mighty for me to set right. And when I had set right all the 
wrongs that were in my own country. 

2 Add " with fair curly hair." 

B 



1 8 THE MABINOGION 

top of his mantle was a band of gold lace. On his 
feet were shoes of variegated leather, fastened by 
two bosses of gold. When I saw him, I went 
towards him and saluted him ; and such was his 
courtesy, that he no sooner received my greeting 
than he returned it.^ And he went with me towards 
the Castle. Now there were no dwellers in the 
Castle, except those who were in one hall. And 
there I saw four and twenty damsels, embroidering 
satin, at a window. And this I tell thee, Kai, that ^ 
the least fair of them was fairer than the fairest 
maid thou didst ever behold, in the Island of Britain ; 
and the least lovely of them was more lovely than 
Gwenhwyvar, the wife of Arthur, when she appeared 
loveliest at the Offering, on the day of the Nativity, 
or at the feast of Easter.^ They rose up at my 
coming, and six of them took my horse, and divested 
me of my armour ; and six others took my arms, and 
washed them in a vessel, until they were perfectly 
bright. And the third six spread cloths upon the 
tables, and prepared meat. And the fourth six 
took off my soiled garments, and placed others upon 
me ; namely, an under vest and a doublet of fine 
linen, and a robe, and a surcoat, and a mande of 
yellow satin, and a broad gold band upon the mantle. 
And they placed cushions both beneath and around 
me, with coverings of red linen. And I sat down. 
Now the six maidens who had taken my horse, un- 
harnessed him, as well as if they had been the best 
Squires in the Island of Britain. Then, behold, they 

^ And such was his courtesy that he greeted me before I could 
greet him. 

2 Add, '*I ween that." 

2 When she was ever loveliest, at Christmas, or at Easter- tide 
mass. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 19 

brought bowls of silver wherein was water to wash ; 
and towels of linen, some green and some white ; and 
I washed. And in a little while the man sat down 
to the table.^ And I sat next to him, and below me 
sat all the maidens, except those who waited on us. 
And the table was of silver; and the cloths upon 
the table were of linen. And no vessel was served 
upon the table that was not either of gold, or of 
silver, or of buffalo horn. And our meat was 
brought to us. And verily, Kai, I saw there every 
sort of meat, and every sort of liquor, that I ever 
saw elsewhere ; but the meat and the liquors were 
better served there, than I ever saw them in any 
other place. 

*^ Until the repast was half over, neither the man 
nor any one of the damsels spoke a single word to 
me; but when the man perceived that it would be 
more agreeable to me to converse than to eat any 
more, he began to enquire of me w^ho I was. I said 
I was glad to find that there was some one who 
would discourse with me, and that it was not con- 
sidered so great a crime at that Court, for people 
to hold converse together. ' Chieftain,^ said the man, 
' we would have talked to thee sooner, but we feared 
to disturb thee during thy repast. Now, however, 
we will discourse.' Then I told the man who I 
was, and what was the cause of my journey. And 
said that I was seeking whether any one was superior 
to me, or whether I could gain the mastery over all. 
The man looked upon me, and he smiled, and said, 
* If I did not fear to distress thee too much,^ I would 
shew thee that which thou seekest.' Upon this I 
became anxious and sorrowful; and when the man 

^ And the man I had seen erstwhile sat down to the table. 
^ Did I not think that too much trouble would befall thee. 



20 THE MABINOGION 

perceived it, he said, * If thou wouldst rather that 
I should shew thee thy disadvantage, than thine 
advantage, I will do so. Sleep here to-night, and 
in the morning, arise early, and take the road up- 
wards through the valley, until thou reachest the 
wood, through which thou earnest hither. A little 
way within the wood, thou wilt meet with a road, 
branching off to the right ; by which thou must 
proceed, until thou comest to a large sheltered glade, 
with a mound in the centre. And thou wilt see 
a black man of great stature, on the top of the 
mound ; he is not smaller in size than two of the 
men of this world. He has but one foot, and one 
eye, in the middle of his forehead. And he has a 
club of iron, and it is certain that there are no two 
men in the world, who would not find their burden 
in that club. And he is not a comely man, but 
on the contrary he is exceedingly ill favoured ; and 
he is the woodward of that wood. And thou wilt 
see a thousand wild animals, grazing around him. 
Enquire of him the way out of the glade, and he 
will reply to thee briefly,^ and will point out the 
road, by which thou shalt find that which thou art 
in quest of.' 

"And long seemed the night to me. And the 
next morning I arose, and equipped myself, and 
mounted my horse, and proceeded straight through 
the valley, to the wood, and I followed the cross- 
road which the man had pointed out to me, till at 
length I arrived at the glade. And there was I 
three times more astonished at the number of wild 
animals that I beheld, than the man had said I 
should be. And the black man was there, sitting 
upon the top of the mound. Huge of stature as the 
^ With querulous roughness. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 21 

man had told me that he was, I found him to exceed 
by far the description he had given me of him. As 
for the iron club, which the man had told me was 
a burden for two men, I am certain, Kai, that it would 
be a heavy weight for four warriors to lift. And this 
was in the black man's hand. And he only spoke to 
me in answer to my questions.^ Then I asked him 
what power he held over those animals. ^ I will shew 
thee, little man,' said he. And he took his club in 
his hand, and with it he struck a stag a great blow, 
so that he brayed vehemently, and at his braying, the 
animals came together, as numerous as the stars in 
the sky, so that it was difficult for me to find room 
in the glade, to stand among them. There were 
serpents, and dragons, and divers sorts of animals. 
And he looked at them, and bade them go and 
feed. And they bowed their heads, and did him 
homage, as vassals to their lord. 

*^ Then the black man said to me, ' Seest thou now, 
little man, what power I hold over these animals ? ' 
Then I enquired of him the way ; and he became 
very rough in his manner to me ; however he asked 
me whither I would go. And when I had told him 
who I was, and what I sought, he directed me. 
* Take,' said he, ^ that path that leads towards the 
head of the glade, and ascend the wooded steep, 
until thou comest to its summit; and there thou 
wilt find an open space, like to a large valley, and in 
the midst of it a tall tree, whose branches are greener 
than the greenest pine trees. Under this tree is a 
fountain, and by the side of the fountain, a marble slab, 
and on the marble slab a silver bowl, attached by a 
chain of silver, so that it may not be carried away.^ 

^ And he would but bandy words with me. 
^ So that they cannot be separated. 



22 THE MABINOGION 

Take the bowl, and throw a bowlful of water upon 
the slab, and thou wilt hear a mighty peal of thunder ; 
so that thou wilt think that heaven and earth are 
trembling with its fury. With the thunder there will 
come a shower so severe, that it will be scarcely 
possible for thee to endure it and live. And the 
shower will be of hailstones. And after the shower, 
the weather will become fair ; but every leaf that was 
upon the tree will have been carried away by the 
shower. Then a flight of birds will come and alight 
upon the tree ; and in thine own country thou didst 
never hear a strain so sweet, as that which they will 
sing. And at the moment thou art most delighted 
with the song of the birds, thou wilt hear a murmur- 
ing and complaining coming towards thee along the 
valley. And thou wilt see a knight upon a coal black 
horse, clothed in black velvet, and with a pennon of 
black linen upon his lance, and he will ride unto 
thee to encounter thee, with the utmost speed. If 
thou fleest from him he will overtake thee, and if 
thou abidest there, as sure as thou art a mounted 
knight, he will leave thee on foot. And if thou dost 
not find trouble in that adventure, ihou needst not 
seek it during the rest of thy life.' 

"So I journeyed on, until I reached the summit 
of the steep. And there I found every thing, as 
the black man had described it to me. And I went 
up to the tree, and beneath it I saw the fountain, 
and by its side the marble slab ; and the silver bowl, 
fastened by the chain. Then I took the bowl, and 
cast a bowlful of water upon the slab ; and thereupon 
behold the thunder came, much more violent than 
the black man had led me to expect ; and after the 
thunder came the shower ; and of a truth I tell thee, 
Kai, that there is neither man nor beast that could 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 23 

endure that shower and live. For not one of those 
hailstones would be stopped either by the flesh, or by 
the skin, until it had reached the bone. I turned my 
horse's flanks towards the shower, and placed the beak 
of my shield over his head and neck, while I held the 
upper part of it over my own head. And thus I 
withstood the shower. When I looked on the tree, 
there was not a single leaf upon it, and then the sky 
became clear ; and with that, behold the birds lighted 
upon the tree, and sang. And truly, Kai, I never 
heard any melody equal to that, either before or since. 
And when I was most charmed with listening to the 
birds, lo, a murmuring voice was heard through the 
valley, approaching me, and saying, * Oh, Knight, 
what has brought thee hither? What evil have I 
done to thee, that thou shouldest act towards me 
and my possessions, as thou hast this day? Dost 
thou not know that the shower to-day has left in my 
dominions neither man nor beast alive, that was 
exposed to it?' And thereupon, behold a Knight 
on a black horse appeared, clothed in jet black velvet, 
and with a tabard of black linen about him. And we 
charged each other ; and as the onset was furious, it 
was not long before I was overthrown. Then the 
Knight passed the shaft of his lance through the 
bridle rein of my horse, and rode off with the two 
horses ; leaving me where I was. And he did not 
even bestow so much notice upon me, as to imprison 
me, nor did he despoil me of my arms. So I returned 
along the road by which I had come. And when I 
reached the glade where the black man was, I confess 
to thee, Kai, it is a marvel that I did not melt down 
into a liquid pool, through the shame that I felt at 
the black man's derision. And that night I came to 
the same Castle, where I had spent the night pre- 



24 THE MABINOGION 

ceding. And I was more agreeably entertained that 
night, than I had been the night before ; and I was 
better feasted, and I conversed freely with the inmates 
of the Castle ; and none of them alluded to my ex- 
pedition to the fountain, neither did I mention it to 
any. And I remained there that night. When I 
arose on the morrow, I found ready saddled a dark- 
bay palfrey, with nostrils as red as scarlet. And after 
putting on my armour, and leaving there my blessing, 
I returned to my own Court. And that horse I still 
possess, and he is in the stable yonder. And I 
declare that I would not part with him for the best 
palfrey in the Island of Britain. 

*^Now of a truth, Kai, no man ever before con- 
fessed to an adventure so much to his own discredit ; 
and verily it seems strange to me, that neither before 
nor since have I heard of any person, besides myself, 
who knew of this adventure, and that the subject of 
it should exist within King Arthur's dominions, with- 
out any other person lighting upon it." 

*' Now," quoth Owain, " would it not be well to go 
and endeavour to discover that place ? " 

** By the hand of my friend," said Kai, " often dost 
thou utter that with thy tongue, which thou wouldest 
not make good with thy deeds." 

"In very truth," said Gwenhwyvar, "it were better 
thou wert hanged, Kai, than to use such uncourteous 
speech towards a man like Owain." 

"By the hand of my friend, good Lady," said 
Kai, "thy praise of Owain is not greater than 
mine." 

With that Arthur awoke, and asked if he had not 
been sleeping a little. 

"Yes, Lord," answered Owain, "thou hast slept 
awhile." 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 25 

*' Is it time for us to go to meat ? " 

*' It is, Lord," said Owain. 

Then the horn for washing was sounded, and the 
King and all his household sat down to eat. And 
when the meal was ended, Owain withdrew to his 
lodging, and made ready his horse and his arms. 

On the morrow, with the dawn of day, he put on 
his armour, and mounted his charger, and travelled 
through distant lands, and over desert mountains. 
And at length he arrived at the valley which Kynon 
had described to him ; and he was certain that it 
w^as the same that he sought. And journeying along 
the valley, by the side of the river, he followed its 
course till he came to the plain, and within sight of 
the Castle. When he approached the Castle, he saw 
the youths shooting their daggers, in the place where 
Kynon had seen them ; and the yellow man, to whom 
the Castle belonged, standing hard by. And no 
sooner had Owain saluted the yellow man, than he 
was saluted by him in return. 

And he went forward towards the Castle, and there 
he saw the chamber ; and when he had entered the 
chamber, he beheld the maidens working at satin 
embroidery, in chairs of gold. And their beauty, and 
their comeliness seemed to Owain far greater than 
Kynon ,had represented to him. And they arose to 
wait upon Owain, as they had done to Kynon. And 
the meal w^hich they set before him, gave more 
satisfaction to Owain than it had done to Kynon. 

About the middle of the repast the yellow man 
asked Owain the object of his journey. And Owain 
made it known to him, and said, *' I am in quest of 
the Knight who guards the fountain.'^ Upon this, 
the yellow man smiled, and said that he was as loth 
to point out that adventure to Owain as he had been 



26 THE MABINOGION 

to Kynon. However he described the whole to 
Owain, and they retired to rest. 

The next morning Owain found his horse made 
ready for him by the damsels, and he set forward and 
came to the glade where the black man was. And 
the stature of the black man seemed more w^onderful 
to Owain, than it had done to Kynon, and Owain 
asked of him his road, and he showed it to him. 
And Owain followed the road, as Kynon had done, 
till he came to the green tree ; and he beheld the 
fountain, and the slab beside the fountain with the 
bowl upon it. And Owain took the bowl, and threw 
a bowlful of water upon the slab. And lo, the 
thunder was heard, and after the thunder came the 
shower, much more violent than Kynon had described, 
and after the shower, the sky became bright. And 
when Owain looked at the tree, there was not one 
leaf upon it. And immediately the birds came, and 
settled upon the tree, and sang. And when their 
song was most pleasing to Owain, he beheld a 
Knight coming towards him through the valley, and 
he prepared to receive him ; and encountered him 
violently. Having broken both their lances, they 
drew their swords, and fought blade to blade. Then 
Owain struck the Knight a blow through his helmet, 
head piece and visor, and through the skin, and the 
flesh, and the bone, until it wounded the very brain. 
Then the black Knight felt that he had received a 
mortal wound, upon which he turned his horse's head, 
and fled. And Owain pursued him, and followed 
close upon him, although he was not near enough to 
strike him with his sword. Thereupon Owain des- 
cried a vast and resplendent Castle. And they came 
to the Castle gate. And the black Knight was 
allowed to enter, and the portcullis was let fall 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 2/ 

upon Owain ; and it struck his horse behind the 
saddle, and cut him in two, and carried away the 
rowels of the spurs that were upon Owain's heels. 
And the portcullis descended to the floor. And 
the rowels of the spurs and part of the horse were 
without, and Owain, with the other part of the horse 
remained between the two gates, and the inner gate 
was closed, so that Owain could not go thence ; and 
Owain was in a perplexing situation. And while he 
was in this state, he could see through an aperture in 
the gate, a street facing him, with a row of houses on 
each side. And he beheld a maiden, with yellow 
curling hair, and a frontlet of gold upon her head ; 
and she was clad in a dress of yellow satin, and on 
her feet were shoes of variegated leather. And she 
approached the gate, and desired that it should be 
opened. " Heaven knows. Lady,'' said Owain, " it 
is no more possible for me to open to thee from 
hence, than it is for thee to set me free." "Truly," 
said the damsel, " it is very sad that thou canst not 
be released, and every woman ought to succour thee, 
for I never saw one more faithful in the service of 
ladies than thou. As a friend thou art the most 
sincere, and as a lover the most devoted. There- 
fore," quoth she, ''whatever is in my power to do 
for thy .release, I will do it. Take this ring and put 
it on thy finger, with the stone inside thy hand ; 
and close thy hand upon the stone. And as long 
as thou concealest it, it will conceal thee. When 
they have consulted together, they will come forth 
to fetch thee, in order to put thee to death ;^ and 
they will be much grieved that they cannot find thee. 
And I will await thee on the horseblock yonder ; and 
thou wilt be able to see me, though I cannot see thee ; 
^ Add " On account of the knight." 



28 THE MABINOGION 

therefore come and place thy hand upon my shoulder, 
that I may know that thou art near me. And by 
the way that I go hence, do thou accompany me. 

Then she went away from Owain, and he did all 
that the maiden had told him. And the people ot 
the Castle came to seek Owain, to put him to death, 
and when they found nothing but the half of his 
horse, they were sorely grieved. 

And Owain vanished from among them, and went to 
the maiden, and placed his hand upon her shoulder, 
whereupon she set off, and Owain followed her, until 
they came to the door of a large and beautiful chamber, 
and the maiden opened it, and they went in, and closed 
the door. And Owain looked around the chamber, 
and behold there was not even a single nail in it, that 
was not painted with gorgeous colours; and there 
was not a single panel, that had not sundry images ^ 
in gold portrayed upon it. 

The maiden kindled a fire, and took water in a 
silver bowl, and put a towel of white linen on her 
shoulder, and gave Owain water to wash. Then she 
placed before him a silver table, inlaid with gold ; 
upon which was a cloth of yellow linen ; and she 
brought him food. And of a truth, Owain never 
saw any kind of meat that was not there in abundance, 
but it was better cooked there, than he ever found 
it in any other place. Nor did he ever see so excel- 
lent a display of meat and drink as there. And 
there was not one vessel from which he was served, 
that was not of gold, or of silver. And Owain ate 
and drank, until late in the afternoon, when lo, they 
heard a mighty clamour in the Castle ; and Owain 
asked the maiden what that outcry was. " They are 
administering extreme unction," said she, ^*to the 
^ An image of a different kind. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 29 

Nobleman who owns the Castle." And Owain went 
to sleep. 

The couch which the maiden had prepared for him 
was meet for Arthur himself; it was of scarlet, and 
fur, and satin, and sendall, and fine linen. In the 
middle of the night they heard a woeful outcry. 
"What outcry again is this?" said Owain. "The 
Nobleman who owned the Castle is now dead," said 
the maiden. And a little after daybreak, they heard 
an exceeding loud clamour and wailing. And Owain 
asked the maiden what was the cause of it. "They 
are bearing to the church, the body of the Nobleman 
who owned the Castle.'^ 

And Owain rose up, and clothed himself, and 
opened a window of the chamber, and looked 
towards the Castle ; and he could see neither the 
bounds, nor the extent of the hosts that filled the 
streets. And they were fully armed ; and a vast 
number of women were with them, both on horse- 
back, and on foot ; and all the ecclesiastics in the 
city, singing. And it seemed to Owain that the sky 
resounded with the vehemence of their cries, and 
with the noise of the trumpets, and with the singing 
of the ecclesiastics.^ In the midst of the throng, he 
beheld the bier, over which was a veil of white linen ; 
and wax tapers were burning beside, and around it, 
and none that supported the bier was lower in rank 
than a powerful ^ Baron. 

Never did Owain see an assemblage so gorgeous 
with satin, and silk, and sendall. And following the 
train, he beheld a lady with yellow hair falling over 
her shoulders, and stained with blood ; and about her 
a dress of yellow satin, which was torn. Upon her 
feet were shoes of variegated leather. And it was a 
^ Monks. 2 Land-owning. 



30 THE MABINOGION 

marvel that the ends of her fingers were not bruised, 
from the violence with which she smote her hands 
together. Truly she would have been the fairest 
lady Owain ever saw, had she been in her usual 
guise. And her cry was louder than the shout of 
the men, or the clamour of the trumpets.^ No sooner 
had he beheld the lady, than he became inflamed 
with her love, so that it took entire possession of 
him. 

Then he enquired of the maiden who the lady was. 
*' Heaven knows," replied the maiden, " she may be 
said to be the fairest, and the most chaste, and the 
most liberal, and the wisest, and the most noble of 
women. And she is my mistress ; and she is called 
the Countess of the Fountain, the wife of him whom 
thou didst slay yesterday." " Verily," said Owain ''she 
is the woman that I love best." '' Verily," said the 
maiden, '' she shall also love thee not a little.'' 

And with that the maid arose, and kindled a fire, 
and filled a pot with water, and placed it to warm ; 
and she brought a towel of white linen, and placed 
it around Owain's neck; and she took a goblet of 
ivory, and a silver basin, and filled them with warm 
water, wherewith she washed Owain's head. Then 
she opened a wooden casket, and drew forth a razor, 
whose haft was of ivory, and upon which were two 
rivets of gold. And she shaved his beard, and she 
dried his head, and his throat, with the towel. Then 
she rose up from before Owain, and brought him to 
eat. And truly Owain had never so good a meal, nor 
was he ever so well served. 

When he had finished his repast, the maiden ar- 
ranged his couch. "Come here," said she, ''and 

^ Louder was her cry than any trumpet blast that arose from 
among the multitude. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 3 1 

sleep, and I will go and woo for thee/^ And Owain 
went to sleep, and the maiden shut the door of the 
chamber after her, and went towards the Castle 
When she came there, she found nothing but mourn- 
ing, and sorrow ; and the Countess in her chamber 
could not bear the sight of any one through grief. 
Luned came and saluted her, but the Countess 
answered her not. And the maiden bent down 
towards her, and said, *' What aileth thee, that thou 
answerest no one to-day ? " " Luned," said the 
Countess, "what change hath befallen thee, that 
thou hast not come to visit me in my grief? It was 
wrong in thee, and I having made thee rich ; it was 
wrong in thee that thou didst not come to see me in 
my distress. That was wrong in thee." "Truly," 
said Luned, " I thought thy good sense was greater 
than I find it to be. Is it well for thee to mourn 
after that good man, or for anything else, that thou 
canst not have ? " "I declare to heaven," said the 
Countess, "that in the whole world there is not a 
man equal to him." " Not so," said Luned, " for an 
ugly man would be as good as, or better than he." ^ 
" I declare to heaven," said the Countess, "that were 
it not repugnant to me to cause to be put to death 
one whom I have brought up, I would have thee 
executed, for making such a comparison to me. 
As it is, I will banish thee." " I am glad," said 
Luned, "that thou hast no other cause to do so, 
than that I would have been of service to thee when 

^ '* Truly," said Luned, '* I thought thy good sense was greater 
than I find it to be. Is it better to grieve because thou canst not 
get that good man, than it is to grieve for anything else thou 
canst never get?" "I declare to heaven," said the Countess, 
*'that I could never get my lord in any other man, be he the 
best in the world." "Oh yes," said Luned, "thou couldst 
marry a husband that would be as good as he, or better than he." 



32 THE MABINOGION 

thou didst not know what was to thine advantage. 
And henceforth evil betide whichever of us shall make 
the first advance towards reconciliation to the other ; 
whether I should seek an invitation from thee, or 
thou of thine own accord shouldest seek to invite me." 

With that Luned went forth ; and the Countess 
arose and followed her to the door of the chamber, 
and began coughing loudly. And when Luned looked 
back, the Countess beckoned to her ; and she re- 
turned to the Countess. " In truth," said the 
Countess, " evil is thy disposition ; but if thou 
knowest what is to my advantage, declare it to me." 
'' I will do so," quoth she. 

"Thou knowest that except by warfare and arms 
it is impossible for thee to preserve thy possessions ; 
delay not, therefore, to seek some one who can defend 
them." *' And how can I do that ? " said the Countess. 
"I will tell thee," said Luned, "unless thou canst 
defend, the fountain, thou canst not maintain thy 
dominions ; and no one can defend the fountain, 
except it be a knight of Arthur's household ; and I 
will go to Arthur's court, and ill betide me, if I return 
thence without a warrior who can guard the fountain, 
as well as, or even better than, he who defended it 
formerly." " That will be hard to perform," said the 
Countess. "Go, however, and make proof of that 
which thou hast promised." 

Luned set out, under the pretence of going to 
Arthur's court; but she went back to the chamber 
where she had left Owain ; and she tarried there 
with him as long as it might have taken her to have 
travelled to the Court of King Arthur. And at the 
end of that time, she apparelled herself, and went to 
visit the Countess. And the Countess was much 
rejoiced when she saw her, and enquired what news 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 33 

she brought from the Court. " I bring thee the best 
of news," said Luned, ^'for I have compassed the 
object of my mission. When wilt thou, that I should 
present to thee the chieftain who has come with me 
hither?" *' Bring him here to visit me to-morrow, 
at mid-day,'' said the Countess, "and I will cause the 
town to be assembled by that time." 

And Luned returned home. And the next day, at 
noon, Owain arrayed himself in a coat, and a surcoat, 
and a mantle of yellow satin, upon which was a broad 
band of gold lace ; and on his feet were high shoes 
of variegated leather, which were fastened by golden 
clasps, in the form of lions. And they proceeded to 
the chamber of the Countess. 

Right glad was the Countess of their coming. And 
she gazed steadfastly upon Owain, and said, " Luned, 
this knight has not the look of a traveller." "What 
harm is there in that. Lady?" said Luned. "I am 
certain," said the Countess, "that no other man than 
this, chased the soul from the body of my lord." 
" So much the better for thee, Lady," said Luned, 
" for had he not been stronger than thy lord, he could 
not have deprived him of life. There is no remedy 
for that which is past, be it as it. may." "Go back 
to thine abode,'' said the Countess, "and I will take 
counsel." ^ 

The next day, the Countess caused all her subjects 
to assemble, and shewed them that her Earldom was 
left defenceless, and that it could not be protected 
but with horse and arms, and military skill. " There- 
fore," said she, " this is what I offer for your choice : 
either let one of you take me, or give your consent 
for me to take a husband from elsewhere, to defend 
my dominions." 

So they came to the determination, that it was 

C 



34 THE MABINOGION 

better that she should have permission to marry 
some one from elsewhere; and thereupon she sent 
for the Bishops and Archbishops, to celebrate her 
nuptials with Owain. And the men of the Earldom 
did Owain homage. 

And Owain defended the Fountain with lance and 
sword. And this is the manner in which he defended 
it. Whensoever a knight came there, he overthrew 
him, and sold him for his full worth. And what he 
thus gained, he divided among his Barons, and his 
Knights; and no man in the whole world could be 
more beloved than he was by his subjects. And it 
was thus for the space of three years. 

It befell that as Gwalchmai went forth one day 
with King Arthur, he perceived him to be very sad 
and sorrowful. And Gwalchmai was much grieved 
to see Arthur in this state ; and he questioned him, 
saying, " Oh my Lord ! what has befallen thee ? " 
" In sooth, Gwalchmai," said Arthur, ** I am grieved 
concerning Owain, whom I have lost these three 
years ; and I shall certainly die, if the fourth year 
passes without my seeing him. Now I am sure, that 
it is through the tale which Kynon the son of Clydno 
related, that I have lost Owain." "There is no 
need for thee," said Gwalchmai, **to summon to arms 
thy whole dominions, on that account ; for thou thy- 
self, and the men of thy household, will be able to 
avenge Owain, if he be slain ; or to set him free, if 
he be in prison ; and if alive, to bring him back with 
thee." And it was settled, according to what Gwalch- 
mai had said. 

Then Arthur and the men of his household pre- 
pared to go and seek Owain ; and their number was 
three thousand, beside their attendants. And Kynon 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 35 

the son of Clydno acted as their guide. And Arthur 
came to the Castle, where Kynon had been before. 
And when he came there the youths were shooting 
in the same place, and the yellow man was standing 
hard by. When the yellow man saw Arthur, he 
greeted him, and invited him to the Castle. And 
Arthur accepted his invitation, and they entered the 
Castle together. And great as w^as the number of 
his retinue, their presence was scarcely observed in 
the Castle, so vast was its extent. And the maidens 
rose up to wait on them. And the service of the 
maidens appeared to them all to excel any attendance 
they had ever met with ; and even the pages w^ho 
had charge of the horses, were no worse served, that 
night, than Arthur himself would have been, in his 
own Palace. 

The next morning, Arthur set out thence, with 
Kynon for his guide, and came to the place where 
the black man was. And the stature of the black 
man was more surprising to Arthur, than it had been 
represented to him. And they came to the top of 
the wooded steep, and traversed the valley, till they 
reached the green tree ; where they saw the fountain, 
and the bowl and the slab. And upon that, Kai 
came to Arthur, and spoke to him. ''My Lord,'' 
said he, " I know the meaning of all this, and my 
request is, that thou wilt permit me to throw the 
water on the slab, and to receive the first advantage 
that may befall." And Arthur gave hini leave. 

Then Kai threw a bowlful of water upon the slab, 
and immediately there came the thunder, and after 
the thunder the shower. And such a thunderstorm 
they had never known before. And many of the 
attendants who were in Arthur's train were killed by 
the shower. After the shower had ceased, the sky 



36 



THE MABINOGION 



became clear. And on looking at the tree, they 
beheld it completely leafless. Then the birds de- 
scended upon the tree. And the song of the birds 
was far sweeter than any strain they had ever heard 
before. Then they beheld a Knight, on a coal-black 
horse, clothed in black satin, coming rapidly towards 







them. And Kai met him and encountered him, and 
it was not long before Kai was overthrown. And the 
Knight withdrew.^ And Arthur and his host en- 
camped for the night. 

And when they arose in the morning, they per- 
ceived the signal of combat upon the lance of the 
Knight ; and Kai came to Arthur, and spoke to him. 

^ Encamped. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 37 

" My Lord," said he, " though I was overthrown 
yesterday, if it seem good to thee, I would gladly 
meet the Knight ngain to-day." " Thou mayst do 
so," said Arthur. And Kai went towards the Knight. 
And on the spot he overthrew Kai,^ and struck him 
with the head of his lance in the forehead, so that 
it broke his helmet and the headpiece, and pierced 
the skin, and the flesh, the breadth of the spear- 
head, even to the bone. And Kai returned to his 
companions. 

After this, all the household of Arthur went forth, 
one after the other, to combat the Knight, until there 
was not one that was not overthrown by him, except 
Arthur and Gwalchmai. And Arthur armed himself 
to encounter the Knight. "Oh, my lord," said 
Gwalchmai, '* permit me to fight with him first." 
And Arthur permitted him. And he went forth to 
meet the Knight, having over himself and his horse, 
a satin robe of honour which had been sent him by 
the daughter of the Earl of Rhangyw, and in this 
dress he was not known by any of the host. And 
they charged each other, and fought all that day until 
the evening. And neither of them was able to un- 
horse the other. 

The next day they fought with strong lances ; and 
neither of them could obtain the mastery. 

And the third day they fought with exceeding 
strong lances. And they were increased with rage, 
and fought furiously, even until noon. And they 
gave each other such a shock, that the girths of their 
horses were broken, so that they fell over their horses' 
cruppers to the ground. And they rose up speedily, 
and drew their swords, and resumed the combat.^ 

1 Add " and looked at him." 
^ And belaboured each other. 



38 THE MABINOGION 

And the multitude that witnessed the encounter felt 
assured that they had never before seen two men so 
valiant, or so powerful. And had it been midnight, 
it would have been light from the fire that flashed 
from their weapons. And the Knight gave Gwalchmai 
a blow that turned his helmet from off his face, so 
that the Knight knew that it was Gwalchmai. Then 
Owain said, *^ My lord Gwalchmai, I did not know 
thee for my cousin, owing to the robe of honour, 
that enveloped thee ; take my sword and my arms.'' 
Said Gwalchmai, " Thou, Owain, art the victor ; take 
thou my sword." And with that Arthur saw that they 
were conversing, and advanced towards them. " My 
lord Arthur," said Gwalchmai, " here is Owain, who 
has vanquished me, and will not take my arms." 
" My lord," said Owain, "it is he that has vanquished 
me, and he will not take my sword." " Give me your 
swords," said Arthur, " and then neither of you has 
vanquished the other." Then Owain put his arms 
around Arthur's neck, and they embraced. And all 
the host hurried forward to see Owain, and to em- 
brace him. And there was nigh being a loss of life, 
so great was the press. 

And they retired that night, and the next day Arthur 
prepared to depart. " My lord," said Owain, " this 
is not well of thee. For I have been absent from thee 
these three years,^ and during all that time, up to this 
very day, I have been preparing a banquet for thee, 
knowing that thou wouldest come to seek me. Tarry 
with me therefore, until thou and thy attendants have 
recovered the fatigues of the journey, and have been 
anointed." 

And they all proceeded to the Castle of the Countess 
of the Fountain, and the banquet which had been 
^ Add **and this is my abode." 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 39 

three years preparing was consumed in three months. 
Never had they a more deHcious or agreeable banquet. 
And Arthur prepared to depart. Then he sent an 
embassy to the Countess, to beseech her to permit 
Owain to go with him, for the space of three months, 
that he might shew him to the nobles, and the fair 
dames of the Island of Britain. And the Countess 
gave her consent, although it was very painful to her. 
So Owain came with Arthur to the Island of Britain. 
And when he was once more amongst his kindred and 
friends, he remained three years, instead of three 
months, with them. 

And as Owain one day sat at meat, in the City of 
Caerlleon upon Usk, behold a damsel entered, upon 
a bay horse, with a curling mane, and covered with 
foam ; and the bridle, and as much as was seen of the 
saddle, were of gold. And the damsel was arrayed 
in a dress of yellow satin. And she went up to 
Owain, and took the ring from off his hand. " Thus,'' 
said she, "shall be treated the deceiver, the traitor, 
the faithless, the disgraced, and the beardless." ^ And 
she turned her horse's head, and departed. 

Then his adventure came to Owain's remembrance, 
and he was sorrowful. And having finished eating, 
he went to his own abode, and made preparations that 
night. And the next day he arose, but did not go 
to the Court, but wandered to the distant parts of the 
earth, and to uncultivated mountains. And he re- 
mained there until all his apparel was worn out, and 
his body was wasted away, and his hair was grown long. 
And he went about with the wild beasts, and fed with 
them, until they became familiar with him. But at 
length he grew so weak, that he could no longer bear 
^ To the disgrace of thy beard. 



40 THE MABINOGION 

them company. Then he descended from the moun- 
tains to the valley, and came to a park, that was the 
fairest in the world, and belonged to a widowed 
Countess. 

One day the Countess and her maidens went forth 
to walk by a lake, that was in the middle of the park. 
And they saw the form of a man. And they were 
terrified. Nevertheless they went near him, and 
touched him, and looked at him. And they saw that 
there was life in him, though he was exhausted by the 
heat of the sun. And the Countess returned to the 
Castle, and took a flask full of precious ointment, and 
gave it to one of her maidens. " Go with this,'' said 
she, *'and take with thee yonder horse, and clothing, 
and place them near the man we saw just now. And 
anoint him with this balsam, near his heart ; and 
if there is life in him, he will arise, through the 
efficacy of this balsam. Then watch what he will 
do." 

And the maiden departed from her, and poured the 
whole of the balsam upon Owain, and left the horse 
and the garments hard by, and went a little way off, 
and hid herself, to watch him. In a short time she 
saw him begin to move his arms ; and he arose up, 
and looked at his person, and became ashamed of the 
unseemliness of his appearance. Then he perceived 
the horse and the garments, that were near him. And 
he crept forward till he was able to draw the garments 
to him from off the saddle. And he clothed himself, 
and with difficulty mounted the horse. Then the 
damsel discovered herself to him, and saluted him. 
And he was rejoiced when he saw her, and enquired 
of her, what land and what territory that was. 
'* Truly," said the maiden, **a widowed Countess 
owns yonder Castle; at the death of her husband, 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 4I 

he left her two Earldoms, but at this day she has 
but this one dwelling that has not been wrested from 
her, by a young Earl, who is her neighbour, because 
she refused to become his wife." " That is pity," said 
Owain. And he and the maiden proceeded to the 
Castle ; and he alighted there, and the maiden con- 
ducted him to a pleasant chamber, and kindled a fire, 
and left him. 

And the maiden came to the Countess, and gave 
the flask into her hand. *' Ha ! maiden," said the 
Countess, "where is all the balsam?" ^'Have I not 
used it all?" said she. "Oh, maiden," said the 
Countess, " I cannot easily forgive thee this ; it is 
sad for me to have wasted seven-score pounds' worth 
of precious ointment, upon a stranger whom I know 
not. However, maiden, wait thou upon him, until he 
is quite recovered." 

And the maiden did so, and furnished him with 
meat and drink, and fire, and lodging, and medica- 
ments, until he was well again. And in three months 
he was restored to his former guise, and became even 
more comely, than he had ever been before. 

One day Owain heard a great tumult, and a sound 
of arms in the Castle, and he enquired of the maiden 
the cause thereof. " The Earl," said she, " whom I 
mentioned to thee, has come before the Castle, with 
a numerous army, to subdue the Countess." And 
Owain enquired of her whether the Countess had a 
horse and arms, in her possession. " She has the 
best in the world," said the maiden. " Wilt thou go 
and request the loan of a horse and arms for me," 
said Owain, "that I may go and look at this army?" 
" I will," said the maiden. 

And she came to the Countess, and told her what 
Owain had said. And the Countess laughed. 



42 THE MABINOGION 

" Truly," said she, " I will even give him a horse 
and arms, for ever ; such a horse and such arms, had 
he never yet, and I am glad that they should be taken 
by him to-day, lest my enemies should have them 
against my will to-morrow. Yet I know not what he 
would do with them." 

The Countess bade them bring out a beautiful 
black steed, upon which was a beechen saddle, and 
a suit of armour, for man and horse. And Owain 
armed himself, and mounted the horse, and went 
forth, attended by two pages completely equipped, 
with horses and arms. And when they came near to 
the EarFs army, they could see neither its extent, nor 
its extremity. And Owain asked the pages in which 
troop the Earl was. " In yonder troop," said they, 
** in which are four yellow standards. Two of them 
are before, and two behind him." ''Now," said 
Owain, " do you return and await me near the portal 
of the Castle." So they returned, and Owain pressed 
forward, until he met the Earl. And Owain drew him 
completely out of his saddle, and turned his horse's 
head towards the Castle, and, though it was with 
difficulty, he brought the Earl to the portal, where 
the pages awaited him. And in they came. And 
Owain presented the Earl as a gift to the Countess. 
And said to her, ''Behold a requittal to thee for thy 
blessed balsam." 

The army encamped around the Castle. And the 
Earl restored to the Countess the two Earldoms, he 
had taken from her, as a ransom for his life ; and for 
his freedom, he gave her the half of his own 
dominions, and all his gold, and his silver, and his 
jewels, besides hostages. 

And Owain took his departure. And the Countess 
and all her subjects besought him to remain, but 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 



43 



Owain chose rather to wander through distant lands 
and deserts. 

And as he journed, he heard a loud yelling in a 
wood. And it was repeated a second and a third 
time. And Owain went towards the spot, and behold 
a huge craggy mound, in the middle of the wood ; 




on the side of which was a grey rock. And there was 
a cleft in the rock, and a serpent was within the cleft. 
And near the rock, stood a black lion, and every time 
the lion sought to go thence, the serpent darted 
towards him to attack him. And Owain unsheathed 
his sword, and drew near to the rock ; and as the 
serpent sprung out, he struck him with his sword, 
and cut him in two. And he dried his sword, and 
went on his way, as before. But behold the lion fol- 
lowed him, and played about him, as though it had 
been a greyhound, that he had reared. 



44 THE MABINOGION 

They proceeded thus throughout the day, until the 
evening. And when it was time for Owain to take 
his rest, he dismounted, and turned his horse loose 
in a flat and wooded meadow. And he struck fire, 
and when the fire was kindled, the lion brought him 
fuel enough to last for three nights. And the lion 
disappeared. And presently the lion returned, bear- 
ing a fine large roebuck. And he threw it down 
before Owain, who went towards the fire with it. 

And Owain took the roebuck, and skinned it, and 
placed collops of its flesh upon skewers, around the 
fire. The rest of the buck he gave to the lion to 
devour. While he was doing this, he heard a deep 
sigh near him, and a second, and a third. And 
Owain called out to know whether the sigh he heard 
proceeded from a mortal; and he received answer, 
that it did. " Who art thou ? " said Owain. " Truly," 
said the voice, *' I am Luned, the hand-maiden of the 
Countess of the P'ountain." "And what dost thou 
here?" said Owain. "I am imprisoned," said she, 
"on account of the knight who came from Arthur's 
Court, and married the Countess. And he staid a 
short time with her, but he afterwards departed for 
the Court of Arthur, and he has not returned since. 
And he was the friend I loved best in the world. 
And two of the pages of the Countess's chamber, 
traduced him, and called him a deceiver. And I 
told them that they two were not a match for him 
alone. So they imprisoned me in the stone vault, 
and said that I should be put to death, unless he 
came himself, to deliver me, by a certain day ; and 
that is no further off, than the day after to-morrow. 
And I have no one to send to seek him for me. 
And his name is Owain the son of Urien." " And 
art thou certain, that if that knight knew all this, he 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 45 

would come to thy rescue?" "I am most certain of 
it," said she. 

When the collops were cooked, Owain divided them 
into two parts, between himself and the maiden ; and 
after they had eaten, they talked together until the day 
dawned. And the next morning Owain enquired of 
the damsel, if there was any place where he could get 
food and entertainment for that night. "There is, 
lord," said she; "cross over yonder, and go along 
the side of the river, and in a short time, thou 
wilt see a great Castle, in which are many towers. 
And the Earl who owns that Castle, is the most hos- 
pitable man in the world. There thou mayest spend 
the night." 

Never did sentinel keep stricter watch over his lord, 
than the lion that night over Owain. 

And Owain accoutred his horse, and passed across 
by the ford, and came in the sight of the Castle. 
And he entered it, and was honourably received. 
And his horse was well cared for, and plenty of fodder 
was placed before him. Then the lion went and laid 
down in the horse's manger ; so that none of the 
people of the Castle dared to approach him. The 
treatment which Owain met with there, was such as 
he had never known elsewhere, for every one was as 
sorrowful, as though death had been upon him.^ And 
they went to meat. And the Earl sat upon one side 
of Owain ; and on the other side his only daughter. 
And Owain had never seen any more lovely than she. 
Then the lion came and placed himself between 
Owain's feet, and he fed him with every kind of food, 
that he took himself. And he never saw any thing 
equal to the sadness of the people. 

^ Owen was certain he had never seen better service, but 
every one was as sorrowful as if death had been upon him. 



46 THE MABINOGION 

In the middle of the repast, the Earl began to bid 
Owain welcome. "Then," said Owain, "behold it 
is time for thee to be cheerful." " Heaven knows," 
said the Earl, " that it is not thy coming that makes 
us sorrowful, but we have cause enough for sadness 
and care." "What is that?" said Owain. "I have 
two sons," replied the Earl, "and yesterday they went 
to the mountains to hunt. Now there is on the 
mountain a monster, who kills men and devours 
them. And he seized my sons. And to-morrow is 
the time he has fixed to be here, and he threatens 
that he will then slay my sons before my eyes, unless 
I will deliver into his hands this my daughter.^ He 
has the form of a man, but in stature he is no less 
than a giant." 

"Truly," said Owain, "that is lamentable. And 
which wilt thou do ? " " Heaven knows," said the Earl, 
" it will be better that my sons should be slain, against 
my will, than I should voluntarily give up my daughter 
to him to ill-treat and destroy." Then they talked 
about other things, and Owain staid there that night. 

The next morning, they heard an exceeding great 
clamour, which was caused by the coming of the 
giant, with the two youths. And the Earl was anxious 
both to protect his Castle, and to release his two sons.^ 
Then Owain put on his armour, and went forth to 
encounter the giant ; and the lion followed him. And 
when the giant saw that Owain was armed, he rushed 
towards him, and attacked him. And the lion' fought 
with the giant, much more fiercely than Owain did. 

^ And to-morrow is the appointed day for me to meet him, 
to deliver to him yonder maiden, otherwise he will kill my sons 
before my eyes. 

2 And the Earl determined to hold the castle against him, 
abandoning his two sons to their fate. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 4/ 

Truly," said the giant, " I should find no difficulty 
in fighting with thee, were it not for the animal that 
is with thee." Upon that Owain took the lion back 
to the Castle, and shut the gate upon him. And 
then he returned to fight the giant, as before. And 
the lion roared very loud, for he heard that it went 
hard with Owain. And he climbed up, till he reached 
the top of the Earl's Hall ; and thence he got to the 
top of the Castle, and he sprang down from the walls, 
and went and joined Owain. And the lion gave the 
giant a stroke with his paw, which tore him from his 
shoulder to his hip, and his heart was laid bare. And 
the giant fell down dead. Then Owain restored the 
two youths to their father. 

The Earl besought Owain to remain with him, and 
he would not, but set forward towards the meadow, 
where Luned was. And when he came there, he saw 
a great fire kindled, and two youths with beautiful 
curling auburn hair, were leading the maiden to cast 
her into the fire. And Owain asked them what charge 
they had against her. And they told him of the 
compact 1 that was between them ; as the maiden 
had done the night before. **And," said they, 
** Owain has failed her, therefore we are taking her 
to be burnt." *' Truly," said Owain, "he is a good 
knight, and if he knew that the maiden was in such 
peril, I marvel that he came not to her rescue. But 
if you will accept me in his stead, I will do battle 
with you." "We will," said the youths, "by him 
who made us." 

And they attacked Owain, and he was hard beset 

by them. And with that the lion came to Owain's 

assistance ; and they two got the better of the young 

men. And they said to him, " Chieftain, it was not 

^ And they told him their tale. 



48 THE MABINOGION 

agreed that we should fight, save with thyself alone, 
and it is harder for us to contend with yonder animal, 
than with thee." And Owain put the lion in the 
place where the maiden had been imprisoned, and 
blocked up the door with stones. And he went to 
fight with the young men as before. But Owain had 
not his usual strength,^ and the two youths pressed 
hard upon him. And the lion roared incessantly at 
seeing Owain in trouble. And he burst through the 
wall, until he found a way out, and rushed upon the 
young men, and instantly slew them. So Luned was 
saved from being burned. 

Then Owain returned with Luned, to the dominions 
of the Countess of the Fountain. And when he went 
thence, he took the Countess with him to Arthur's 
Court, and she was his wife as long as she lived. 

And they took the road that led to the Court of 
the savage black man. And Owain fought with him, 
and the lion did not quit Owain, until he had van- 
quished him. And when he reached the Court of the 
savage black man, he entered the hall : and beheld 
four and twenty ladies, the fairest that could be seen. 
And the garments which they had on, were not worth 
four and twenty pence. And they were as sorrowful 
as death. And Owain asked them the cause of their 
sadness. And they said, ^' We are the daughters of 
Earls, and we all came here, with our husbands, whom 
we dearly loved. And we were received with honour 
and rejoicing. And we were thrown into a state of 
stupor, and while we were thus, the demon who owns 
this Castle, slew all our husbands, and took from us 
our horses, and our raiment, and our gold, and our 
silver. And the corpses of our husbands are still 
in this house, and many others with them. And this, 
^ But Owen's strength had not yet returned. 



THE LADY OF THE FOUNTAIN 49 

Chieftain, is the cause of our grief, and we are sorry 
that thou art come hither, lest harm should befall 
thee." 

And Owain was grieved, when he heard this. And 
he went forth from the Castle, and he beheld a Knight 
approaching him, who saluted him, in a friendly and 
cheerful manner, as if he had been a brother. And 
this was the savage black man. ** In very sooth," 
said Owain, " it is not to seek thy friendship that I 
am here." *' In sooth," said he, " thou shalt not find 
it then." And with that they charged each other, 
and fought furiously. And Owain overcame him, and 
bound his hands behind his back. Then the black 
savage . besought Owain to spare his life, and spoke 
thus, " My lord Owain," said he, *' it was foretold, 
that thou shouldst come hither and vanquish me, and 
thou hast done so. I was a robber here, and my 
house was a house of spoil. But grant me my life, 
and I will become the keeper of an Hospice, and I 
will maintain this house as an Hospice for weak and 
for strong, as long as I live, for the good of thy soul." 
And Owain accepted the proposal of him, and re- 
mained there that night. 

And the next day he took the four and twenty 
ladies, and their horses, and their raiment, and what 
they possessed of goods, and jewels, and proceeded 
with them to Arthur's Court. And if Arthur was re- 
joiced when he saw him, after he had lost him the 
first time, his joy was now much greater. And of 
those ladies, such as wished to remain in Arthur's 
Court, remained there ; and such as wished to depart, 
departed. 

And thenceforward Owain dwelt at Arthur's Court, 
greatly beloved as the head of his household, until 
he went away with his followers ; and those were the 

D 



so 



THE MABINOGION 



army of three hundred ravens which Kenverchyn had 
left him. And wherever Owain went with these, he 
was victorious. 

And this is the tale of The Lady of the 
Fountain. 





PEREDUR THE SON OF 
EVRAWC. 



Earl Evrawc owned the Earldom of the North. 
And he had seven sons. And Evrawc maintained 
himself not so much by his own possessions as by 
attending tournaments, and wars, and combats. And, 
as it often befalls those who join in encounters and 
wars, he was slain, and six of his sons likewise. Now 
the name of his seventh son was Peredur, and he was 
the youngest of them. And he was not of an age to go 

51 



52 THE MABINOGION 

to wars and encounters, otherwise he might have been 
slain as his father and brothers. His mother was a 
scheming and thoughtful woman, and she was very 
solicitous concerning this her only son and his ^ pos- 
sessions. So she took counsel with herself to leave 
the inhabited country, and to flee to the deserts and 
unfrequented wildernesses. And she permitted none 
to bear her company thither but women and boys, 
and spiritless men, who were both unaccustomed and 
unequal to war and fighting. And none dared to 
bring either horses or arms where her son was, lest 
he should set his mind upon them. And the youth 
went daily to divert himself in the forest, by flinging 
sticks and staves. And one day he saw his mother's 
flock of goats, and near the goats two hinds were 
standing. And he marvelled greatly that these two 
should be without horns, while the others had them. 
And he thought they had long run wild and on 
that account they had lost their horns. And by 
activity and swiftness of foot, he drove the hinds and 
the goats together into the house which there was 
for the goats at the extremity of the forest. Then 
Peredur returned to his mother. " Ah, mother,'' 
said he, "a marvellous thing have I seen in the 
wood; two of thy goats have run wild, and lost 
their horns; through their having been so long 
missing in the wood. And no man had ever more 
trouble than I had to drive them in." Then they 
all arose and went to see. And when they beheld 
the hinds, they were greatly astonished. 

And one day they saw three knights coming along 
the horse-road on the borders of the forest. And 
the three knights were Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar, 
and Geneir Gwystyl, and Owain the son of Urien 

1 Her. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 53 

And Owain kept on the track of the knight who had 
divided the apples in Arthur's Court, whom they were 
in pursuit of. ** Mother," said Peredur, "what are 
those yonder ?'' *'They are angels, my son," said 
she. " By my faith," said Peredur, " I will go and 
become an angel with them." And Peredur went 
to the road, and met them. "Tell me, good soul," 
said Owain, " sawest thou a knight pass this way, 
either to-day or yesterday ? " "I know not," an- 
swered he, "what a knight is." "Such an one as 
I am," said Owain. " If thou wilt tell me what I 
ask thee, I will tell thee that which thou askest me." 
"Gladly will I do so," replied Owain. "What is 
this ? " demanded Peredur, concerning the saddle. 
" It is a saddle," said Owain. Then he asked about 
all the accoutrements which he saw upon the men, 
and the horses, and the arms, and what they were 
for, and how they were used. And Owain shewed 
him all these things fully, and told him what use 
was made of them. " Go forward," said Peredur, 
" for I saw such an one as thou enquirest for, and 
I will follow thee." 

Then Peredur returned to his mother and her 
company, and he said to her, " Mother, those were 
not angels, but honourable knights." Then his 
mother swooned away. And Peredur went to the 
place where they kept the horses that carried fire- 
wood, and that brought meat and drink from the 
inhabited country to the desert. And he took a 
bony piebald horse, which seemed to him the strongest 
of them. And he pressed a pack into the form of 
a saddle, and with twisted twigs he imitated the 
trappings which he had seen upon the horses. And 
when Peredur came again to his mother, the Countess 
had recovered from her swoon. " My son," said she, 



54 THE MABINOGION 

'*desirest thou to ride forth?" "Yes, with thy 
leave," said he. "Wait then, that I may counsel 
thee before thou goest." "Willingly," he answered, 
"speak quickly." "Go forward," then she said, "to 
the Court of Arthur, where there are the best, and 
the boldest, and the most bountiful of men. And 
wherever thou seest a church, repeat there thy Pater- 
noster unto it. And if thou see meat and drink, 
and hast need of them, and none have the kindness 
or the courtesy to give them to thee, take them 
thyself. If thou hear an outcry, proceed towards it, 
especially if it be the outcry of a woman. If thou 
see a fair jewel, possess thyself of it, and give it to 
another, for thus thou shalt obtain praise. If thou 
see a fair woman, pay thy court to her, whether 
she will or no ; for thus thou wilt render thyself a 
better and more esteemed man than thou wast 
before." 

After this discourse, Peredur mounted the horse, 
and taking a handful of sharp pointed forks in his 
hand, he rode forth. And he journeyed two days 
and two nights in the woody wildernesses, and in 
desert places, without food and without drink. And 
then he came to a vast wdld wood, and far within 
the wood he saw a fair even glade, and in the 
glade he saw a tent, and seeming to him to be a 
church, he repeated his Paternoster to the tent. And 
he went towards it, and the door of the tent was 
open. And a golden chair was near the door. And 
on the chair sat a lovely auburn-haired maiden, with 
a golden frontlet on her forehead, and sparkling 
stones in the frontlet, and with a large gold ring on 
her hand. And Peredur dismounted, and entered 
the tent. And the maiden was glad at his coming, 
and bade him welcome. At the entrance of the 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 55 

tent he saw food, and two flasks full of wine, and two 
loaves of fine wheaten flour, and collops of the flesh 
of the wild boar. '' My mother told me," said Peredur, 
'* wheresoever I saw meat and drink, to take it." 
**Take the meat and welcome, chieftain," said she. 
So Peredur took half of the meat and of the liquor 
himself, and left the rest to the maiden. And when 
Peredur had finished eating, he bent upon his knee 
before the maiden. *'My mother," said he, **told 
me, wheresoever I saw a fair jewel, to take it." " Do 
so, my soul," said she. So Peredur took the ring. 
And he mounted his horse, and proceeded on his 
journey. 

After this, behold the knight came, to whom the 
tent belonged ; and he was the Lord of the Glade. 
And he saw the track of the horse, and he said to 
the maiden, "Tell me who has been here since I 
departed." "A man," said she, "of wonderful 
demeanour." And she described to him what 
Peredur's appearance and conduct had been. " Tell 
me," said he, " did he offer thee any wrong ? '' 
"No," answered the maiden, "by my faith, he 
harmed me not." "By my faith, I do not believe 
thee; and until I can meet with him, and revenge 
the insult he has done me, and wreak my vengeance 
upon him, thou shalt not remain tw^o nights in the 
same house." And the knight arose, and set forth to 
seek Peredur. 

Meanwhile Peredur journeyed on towards Arthur's 
Court. And before he reached it, another knight 
had been there, who gave a ring of thick gold at the 
door of the gate for holding his horse, and went 
into the Hall where Arthur and his household, and 
Gwenhwyvar and her maidens, were assembled. And 
the page of the chamber was serving Gwenhwyvar 



56 THE MABINOGION 

with a golden goblet. Then the knight dashed the 
liquor that was therein upon her face, and upon her 
stomacher, and gave her a violent blow on the face, 
and said, *' If any have the boldness to dispute this 
goblet with me, and to avenge the insult to Gwen- 
hwyvar, let him follow me to the meadow, and there 
I will await him." So the knight took his horse, and 
rode to the meadow. And all the household hung 
down their heads, lest any of them should be re- 
quested to go and avenge the insult to Gwenhwyvar. 
For it seemed to them, that no one would have 
ventured on so daring an outrage, unless he possessed 
such powers, through magic or charms, that none 
could be able to take vengeance upon him. Then, 
behold Peredur entered the Hall, upon the bony 
piebald horse, with the uncouth trappings upon it ; 
and in this way he traversed the whole length of 
the Hall.^ In the centre of the Hall stood Kai. 
"Tell me, tall man," said Peredur, "is that Arthur, 
yonder?" "What wouldest thou with Arthur?" 
asked Kai. " My mother told me to go to Arthur, 
and receive the honour of knighthood." "By my 
faith," said he, "thou art all too meanly equipped 
with horse and with arms." Thereupon he was per- 
ceived by all the household, and they threw sticks 
at him. Then, behold, a dwarf came forward. He 
had already been a year at Arthur's Court, both he 
and a female dwarf. They had craved harbourage of 
Arthur, and had obtained it; and during the whole 
year, neither of them had spoken a single word to 
any one. When the dwarf beheld Peredur, " Ha ha ! " 
said he, "the welcome of Heaven be unto thee, 
goodly Peredur, son of Evrawc, the chief of warriors, 
and flower of knighthood." " Truly," said Kai, " thou 
^ And very unmeet for so honourable a Court. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 5/ 

art ill-taught to remain a year mute at Arthur's Court, 
with choice of society; and now, before the face of 
Arthur and all his household, to call out, and declare 
such a man as this the chief of warriors, and the 
flower of knighthood." And he gave him such a 
box on the ear, that he fell senseless to the ground. 
Then exclaimed the female dwarf, " Ha ha ! goodly 
Peredur, son of Evrawc ; the welcome of Heaven be 
unto thee, flower of knights, and light of chivalry." 
**0f a truth, maiden," said Kai, *' thou art ill-bred to 
remain mute for a year at the Court of Arthur and 
then to speak as thou dost of such a man as this." 
And Kai kicked her with his foot, so that she fell to 
the ground senseless. *'Tall man," said Peredur, 
*'show me which is Arthur." ''Hold thy peace," 
said Kai, "and go after the knight who went hence 
to the meadow, and take from him the goblet, and over- 
throw him, and possess thyself of his horse and arms, 
and then thou shalt receive the order of knighthood." 
" I will do so, tall man," said Peredur. So he turned 
his horse's head towards the meadow. And when he 
came there, the knight was riding up and down, 
proud of his strength, and valour, and noble mien. 
** Tell me," said the knight, " didst thou see any one 
coming after me from the Court?" "The tall man 
that was there," said he, "desired me to come, and 
overthrow thee, and to take from thee the goblet, 
and thy horse and thy armour for myself." " Silence," 
said the knight; "go back to the Court, and tell 
Arthur, from me, either to come himself, or to send 
some other to fight with me ; and unless he do so 
quickly, I will not wait for him." " By my faith," 
said Peredur, "choose thou whether it shall be 
willingly or unwillingly, but I will have the horse, 
and the arms, and the goblet.'^ And upon this the 



58 THE MABINOGION 

knight ran at him furiously, and struck him a violent 
blow ^ with the shaft of his spear, between the neck 
and the shoulder. *' Ha ha ! lad," said Peredur, " my 
mother's servants were not used to play with me in 
this wise; therefore, thus w^ill I play with thee." 
And thereupon he struck him with a sharp pointed 
fork, and it hit him in the eye, and came out at the 
back of his neck, so that he instantly fell down lifeless. 




" Verily," said Owain the son of Urien to Kai, 
"thou wert ill advised, when thou didst send that 
madman after the knight. For one of two things 
must befall him. He must either be overthrown, or 
slain. If he is overthrown by the knight, he will be 
counted by him to be an honourable person of the 
Court, and an eternal disgrace will it be to Arthur 
and his warriors. And if he is slain, the disgrace 
will be the same, and moreover, his sin will be upon 
him; therefore will I go to see what has befallen 
him." So Owain went to the meadow, and he found 
Peredur dragging the man about. "What art thou 

^ Add '* causing a grievous wound." 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 59 

doing thus?'^ said Owain. "This iron coat," said 
Peredur, "will never come from off him ; not by my 
efforts, at any rate." ^ And Owain unfastened his 
armour and his clothes. "Here, my good soul," 
said he, " is a horse and armour better than thine. 
Take them joyfully, and come with me to Arthur, 
to receive the order of knighthood, for thou dost 
merit it." " May I never shew my face again, if I 
go," said Peredur, " but take thou the goblet to 
Gwenhw7var, and tell Arthur, that wherever I am, 
I will be his vassal, and will do him what profit and 
service I am able. And say that I will not come 
to his Court, until I have encountered the tall man 
that is there, to avenge the injury he did to the 
dw^arf and dwarfess." And Owain wxnt back to the 
Court, and related all these things to Arthur and 
Gwenhwyvar, and to all the household.^ 

And Peredur rode forward. And as he proceeded, 
behold a knight met him. "Whence comest thou?" 
said the knight. " I come from Arthur's Court," said 
Peredur. "Art thou one of his men?" asked he. 
"Yes, by my faith," he answered. "A good service, 
truly, is that of Arthur." "Wherefore sayest thou 
so?" said Peredur. "I will tell thee," said he, "I 
have always been Arthur's enemy, and all such of his 
men as I have ever encountered, I have slain." And 
without further parlance, they fought, and it was not 
long before Peredur brought him to the ground, over 
his horse's crupper. Then the knight besought his 
mercy. " Mercy thou shalt have," said Peredur, " if 
thou wilt make oath to me, that thou wilt go to 
Arthur's Court, and tell him that it was I that over- 

^ *' This iron coat will never come off him," said Peredur. 
" I doubt whether it is not part of himself, born with him." 
^ Add *^and the threat against Kai.'* 



6o THE MABINOGION 

threw thee, for the honour of his service; and say 
that I will never come to the Court, until I have 
avenged the insult offered to the dwarf and dwarfess." 
The knight pledged him his faith of this, and pro- 
ceeded to the Court of Arthur, and said as he had 
promised, and conveyed the threat to Kai. 

And Peredur rode forward. And within that week 
he encountered sixteen knights, and overthrew them 
all shamefully. And they all went to Arthur's Court, 
taking with them the same message which the first 
knight had conveyed from Peredur, and the same 
threat which he had sent to Kai. And thereupon 
Kai was reproved by Arthur; and Kai was greatly 
grieved thereat. 

And Peredur rode forward. And he came to a 
vast and desert wood, on the confines of which was 
a lake. And on the other side was a fair castle. 
And on the border of the lake he saw a venerable 
hoary-headed man sitting upon a velvet cushion, and 
having a garment of velvet upon him. And his at- 
tendants were fishing in the lake. When the hoary- 
headed man beheld Peredur approaching, he arose, 
and went towards the castle. And the old man was 
lame. Peredur rode to the palace, and the door was 
open, and he entered the hall. And there was the 
hoary-headed man sitting on a cushion, and a large 
blazing fire burning before him. And the household 
and the company arose to meet Peredur, and dis- 
arrayed him. And the man asked the youth to sit 
on the cushion ; and they sat down, and conversed 
together. When it was time, the tables were laid, 
and they went to meat. And when they had finished 
their meal, the man enquired of Peredur, if he knew 
well how to fight with the sword. *^ I know not," 
said Peredur, " but were I to be taught, doubtless I 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 6 1 

should." "Whoever can play well with the cudgel 
and shield, will also be able to fight with a sword." 
And the man had two sons ; the one had yellow hair, 
and the other auburn. " Arise, youth," said he, 
'^and play with the cudgel and the shield." And 
so did they. "Tell me, my soul," said the man, 
" which of the youths thinkest thou plays best ? " "I 
think," said Peredur, " that the yellow-haired youth 
could draw blood from the other, if he chose." 
"Arise thou, my life, and take the cudgel and the 
shield from the hand of the youth with the auburn 
hair, and draw blood from the yellow-haired youth, 
if thou canst." So Peredur arose, and went to play 
with the yellow-haired youth; and he lifted up his 
arm, and struck him such a mighty blow, that his 
brow fell over his eye, and the blood flowed forth. 
"Ah, my life," said the man, "come now, and sit 
down, for thou wilt become the best fighter with the 
sword of any in this island ; and I am thy uncle, thy 
mother's brother. And with me shalt thou remain 
a space, in order to learn the manners and customs 
of different countries, and courtesy, and gentleness, 
and noble bearing. Leave, then, the habits and the 
discourse of thy mother, and I will be thy teacher ; 
and I will raise thee to the rank of knight from this 
time forward. And thus do thou. If thou seest 
aught to cause thee wonder, ask not the meaning of 
it ; if no one has the courtesy to inform thee, the 
reproach will not fall upon thee, but upon me that 
am thy teacher." And they had abundance of honour 
and service. And when it was time, they went to 
sleep. At the break of day, Peredur arose, and took 
his horse, and with his uncle's permission, he rode 
forth. And he came to a vast desert wood, and at 
the further end of the wood was a meadow, and on 



62 THE MABINOGION 

the other side of the meadow he saw a large castle. 
And thitherward Peredur bent his way, and he found 
the gate open, and he proceeded to the hall. And 
he beheld a stately hoary-headed man sitting on one 
side of the hall, and many pages around him, who 
arose to receive and to honour Peredur. And they 
placed him by the side of the owner of the palace. 
Then they discoursed together; and when it was 
time to eat, they caused Peredur to sit beside the 
nobleman during the repast. And when they had 
eaten and drank as much as they desired, the noble- 
man asked Peredur, whether he could fight with a 
sword? *'Were I to receive instruction,'^ said 
Peredur, "I think I could." Now, there was on 
the floor of the hall a huge staple, as large as a 
warrior could grasp. "Take yonder sword," said 
the man to Peredur, *'and strike the iron staple." 
So Peredur arose, and struck the staple, so that he 
cut it in two ; and the sword broke into two parts 
also. "Place the two parts together, and reunite 
them," and Peredur placed them together, and they 
became entire as they were before. And a second 
time he struck upon the staple, so that both it and 
the sword broke in two, and as before they reunited. 
And the third time he gave a like blow, and placed 
the broken parts together, and neither the staple nor 
the sword would unite, as before. "Youth," said the 
nobleman, " come now, and sit down, and my bless- 
ing be upon thee. Thou fightest best with the sword 
of any man in the kingdom. Thou hast arrived at 
two-thirds of thy strength, and the other third thou 
hast not yet obtained ; and when thou attainest to 
thy full power, none will be able to contend with 
thee. I am thy uncle, thy mother's brother, and I 
am brother^ to the man in whose house thou wast 
1 We are brother and sister. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 



63 



last night." Then Peredur and his uncle discoursed 
together, and he beheld two youths enter the hall, 
and proceed up to the chamber, bearing a spear of 
mighty size, with three streams of blood flowing from 




the point to the ground. And when all the company 
saw this, they began wailing and lamenting. But for 
all that, the man did not break off his discourse w^ith 
Peredur. And as he did not tell Peredur the mean- 
ing of what he saw, he forebore to ask him concerning 



64 THE MABINOGION 

it. And when the clamour had a little subsided, 
behold two maidens entered, with a large salver 
between them, in which was a man's head, sur- 
rounded by a profusion of blood. And thereupon 
the company of the court made so great an outcry, 
that it was irksome to be in the same hall with them. 
But at length they were silent. And when time was 
that they should sleep, Peredur was brought into a 
fair chamber. 

And the next day, with his uncle's permission, he 
rode forth. And he came to a wood, and far within 
the wood he heard a loud cry, and he saw a beautiful 
woman with auburn hair, and a horse with a saddle 
upon it, standing near her, and a corpse by her side. 
And as she strove to place the corpse upon the horse, 
it fell to the ground, and thereupon she made a great 
lamentation. '* Tell me, sister," said Peredur, ** where- 
fore art thou bewailing?" "Oh! accursed Peredur, 
little pity has my ill fortune ever met with from thee." 
"Wherefore," said Peredur, "am I accursed?" 
" Because thou wast the cause of thy mother's death ; 
for when thou didst ride forth against her will, anguish 
seized upon her heart, so that she died ; and there- 
fore art thou accursed. And the dwarf and the 
dwarfess that thou sawest at Arthur's Court, were 
the dwarfs of thy father and mother ; and I am thy 
foster-sister, and this was my wedded husband, and 
he was slain by the knight that is in the glade in the 
wood ; and do not thou go near him, lest thou 
shouldest be slain by him likewise." " My sister, 
thou dost reproach me wrongfully; through my 
having so long remained amongst you, I shall 
scarcely vanquish him ; and had I continued longer 
it would, indeed, be difficult for me to succeed. 
Cease, therefore, thy lamenting, for it is of no avail, 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 65 

and I will bury the body, and then I will go in quest 
of the knight, and see if I can do vengeance upon 
him." And when he had buried the body, they went 
to the place where the knight was, and found him 
riding proudly along the glade; and he enquired 
of Peredur whence he came. " I come from Arthur's 
Court." "And art thou one of Arthur's men?" 
"Yes, by my faith." "A profitable alliance, truly, 
is that of Arthur." And without further parlance, 
they encountered one another, and immediately 
Peredur overthrew the knight, and he besought 
mercy of Peredur. " Mercy shalt thou have," said 
he, " upon these terms, that thou take this woman 
in marriage, and do her all the honour and reverence 
in thy power, seeing thou hast, without cause, slain 
her wedded husband ; and that thou go to Arthur's 
Court, and shew him that it was I that overthrew 
thee, to do him honour and service ; and that thou 
tell him that I will never come to his Court again 
until I have met with the tall man that is there, to 
take vengeance upon him for his insult to the dwarf 
and the dwarfess." And he took the knight's as- 
surance, that he would perform all this. Then the 
knight provided the lady with a horse and garments 
that were suitable for her, and took her with him to 
Arthur's Court. And he told Arthur all that had 
occurred; and gave the defiance to Kai. And Arthur 
and all his household reproved Kai, for having driven 
such a youth as Peredur from his Court. 

Said Owain the son of Urien, " This youth will 
never come into the Court until Kai has gone forth 
from it." " By my faith," said Arthur, " I will search 
all the deserts in the island of Britain, until I find 
Peredur, and then let him and his adversary do their 
utmost to each other." 



66 THE MABINOGION 

Then Peredur rode forward. And he came to a 
desert wood, where he saw not the track either of 
men or animals, and where there was nothing but 
bushes and weeds. And at the upper end of the 
wood he saw a vast castle, wherein were many strong 
towers ; and when he came near the gate, he found 
the weeds taller than he had done elsewhere. And 
he struck the " gate with the shaft of his lance, and 
thereupon behold a lean auburn-haired youth came 
to an opening in the battlements. " Choose thou, 
chieftain," said he. *' Whether shall I open the 
gate unto thee, or shall I announce unto those that 
are chief, that thou art at the gateway ? " " Say that 
I am here," said Peredur, '* and if it is desired that 
I should enter, I will go in." And the youth came 
back, and opened the gate for Peredur. And when 
he went into the hall, he beheld eighteen youths, 
lean and red-headed, of the same height and of the 
same aspect, and of the same dress, and of the same 
age as the one who had opened the gate for him. 
And they were well skilled in courtesy and in service. 
And they disarrayed him. Then they sat down to 
discourse. Thereupon, behold five maidens came 
from the chamber into the hall. And Peredur was 
certain that he had never seen another of so fair an 
aspect as the chief of the maidens. And she had an 
old garment of satin upon her, which had once been 
handsome, but was then so tattered, that her skin 
could be seen through it. And whiter was her skin 
than the bloom of crystal, and her hair and her two 
eyebrows were blacker than jet, and on her cheeks 
were two red spots, redder than whatever is reddest. 
And the maiden welcomed Peredur, and put her arms 
about his neck, and made him sit down beside her. 
Not long after this he saw two nuns enter and a 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 67 

flask full of wine was borne by one, and six loaves 
of white bread by the other. "Lady," said they, 
'' Heaven is witness, that there is not so much of 
food and liquor as this left in yonder Convent this 
night." Then they went to meat, and Peredur 
observed that the maiden wished to give more of 
the food and of the liquor to him than to any of 
the others. " My sister,'' said Peredur, " I will share 
out the food and the Hquor." " Not so, my soul," 
said she. "By my faith, but I will." So Peredur 
took the bread, and he gave an equal portion of it 
to each alike, as well as a cup full of the liquor. 
And when it was time for them to sleep, a chamber 
was prepared for Peredur, and he w^ent to rest. 

" Behold, sister," said the youths to the fairest and 
most exalted of the maidens, " we have counsel for 
thee," "What may it be?" she enquired. "Go to 
the youth that is in the upper chamber, and offer to 
become his wife, or the lady of his love, if it seem 
well to him." " That were indeed unfitting," said 
she. " Hitherto I have not been the lady love of 
any knight, and to make him such an offer before I 
am wooed by him, that, truly, can I not do." "By 
our confession to Heaven, unless thou actest thus, 
we will leave thee here to thy enemies, to do as they 
will with thee." And through fear of this, the maiden 
went forth ; and shedding tears, she proceeded to the 
chamber. And with the noise of the door opening, 
Peredur awoke ; and the maiden was weeping and 
lamenting. "Tell me, my sister," said Peredur, 
" wherefore dost thou weep ? " "I will tell thee, 
lord," said she, " my father possessed these dominions 
as their chief, and this palace was his, and with it 
he held the best earldom in the kingdom ; then the 
son of another earl sought me of my father, and I 



68 THE MABINOGION 

was not willing to be given unto him, and my father 
would not give me against my will, either to him or 
any earl in the world. And my father had no child 
except myself. And after my father's death, these 
dominions came into my own hands, and then was 
I less willing to accept him than before. So he made 
war upon me, and conquered all my possessions 
except this one house. And through the valour of 
the men whom thou hast seen, who are my foster 
brothers, and the strength of the house, it can never 
be taken while food and drink remain. And now 
our provisions are exhausted ; but as thou hast seen, 
we have been fed by the nuns, to whom the country 
is free. And at length they also are without supply 
of food or liquor. And at no later date than to- 
morrow, the earl will come against this place with 
all his forces ; and if I fall into his power, my fate 
will be no better than to be given over to the grooms 
of his horses. Therefore, lord, I am come to offer 
to place myself in thy hands, that thou mayest 
succour me, either by taking me hence, or by defend- 
ing me here, whichever may seem best unto thee." 
*' Go, my sister," said he, " and sleep ; nor will I 
depart from thee until I do that which thou requirest, 
or prove whether I can assist thee or not." The 
maiden went again to rest ; and the next morning 
she came to Peredur, and saluted him. "Heaven 
prosper thee, my soul, and what tidings dost thou 
bring ? " " None other, than that the earl and all 
his forces have alighted at the gate, and I never 
beheld any place so covered with tents, and thronged 
with knights challenging others to the combat." 
''Truly," said Peredur, "let my horse be made 
ready." So his horse was accoutred, and he arose, 
and sallied forth to the meadow. And there was 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 69 

a knight riding proudly along the meadow, having 
raised the signal for battle. And they encountered, 
and Peredur threw the knight over his horse's crupper 
to the ground. And at the close of the day, one of 
the chief knights came to fight with him, and he 
overthrew him also, so that he besought his mercy. 
^' Who art thou? "said Peredur. '' Verily," said he, 
'' I am Master of the Household to the earl." "And 
how much of the Countess's possessions is there in 
thy power?" "The third part, verily," answered he. 
^^Then," said Peredur, "restore to her the third of 
her possessions in full, and all the profit thou hast 
made by them, and bring meat and drink for a 
hundred men, with their horses and arms, to her 
court this night. And thou shalt remain her captive, 
unless she wish to take thy life." And this he did 
forthwith. And that night the maiden was right joy- 
ful, and they fared plenteously. 

And the next day Peredur rode forth to the 
meadow; and that day he vanquished a multitude 
of the host. And at the close of the day, there 
came a proud and stately knight, and Peredur over- 
threw him, and he besought his mercy. " Who art 
thou ? " said Peredur. " I am Steward of the Palace," 
said he. " And how much of the maiden's posses- 
sions are under thy control?" "One third part," 
answered he. "Verily," said Peredur, "thou shalt 
fully restore to the maiden her possessions, and, 
moreover, thou shalt give her meat and drink for 
two hundred men, and their horses and their arms. 
And for thyself, thou shalt be her captive." And 
immediately it was so done. 

And the third day Peredur rode forth to the 
meadow; and he vanquished more that day than 
on either of the preceding. And at the close of the 



70 THE MABINOGION 

day, an earl came to encounter him, and he over- 
threw him, and he besought his mercy. *' Who art 
thou?" said Peredur. "I am the earl," said he. 
"I will not conceal it from thee." "Verily," said 
Peredur, " thou shalt restore the whole of the 
maiden's earldom, and shalt give her thine own 
earldom in addition thereto, and meat and drink 
for three hundred men, and their horses and arms, 
and thou thyself shalt remain in her power." And 
thus it was fulfilled. And Peredur tarried three 
weeks in the country, causing tribute and obedience 
to be paid to the maiden, and the government to 
be placed in her hands. " With thy leave," said 
Peredur, " I will go hence." " Verily, my brother, 
desirest thou this ? " " Yes, by my faith ; and had 
it not been for love of thee, I should not have been 
here thus long." "My soul," said she, "who art 
thou?" "I am Peredur the son of Evrawc from 
the North ; and if ever thou art in trouble or in 
danger, acquaint me therewith, and if I can, I will 
protect thee." 

So Peredur rode forth. And far thence there met 
him a lady, mounted on a horse that was lean, and 
covered with sweat ; and she saluted the youth. 
" Whence comest thou, my sister ? " Then she told 
him the cause of her journey. Now she was the 
wife of the Lord of the Glade. " Behold," said he, 
" I am the knight through whom thou art in trouble, 
and he shall repent it, who has treated thee thus." 
Thereupon, behold a knight rode up, and he enquired 
of Peredur, if he had seen a knight such as he was 
seeking. " Hold thy peace," said Peredur, " I am 
he whom thou seekest ; and by my faith, thou 
deservest ill of thy household for thy treatment of 
the maiden, for she is innocent concerning me." So 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 7 1 

they encountered, and they were not long in combat 
ere Peredur overthrew the knight, and he besought 
his mercy. ^' Mercy thou shalt have," said Peredur, 
*' so thou wilt return by the way thou earnest, and 
declare that thou boldest the maiden innocent, and 
so that thou wilt acknowledge unto her the reverse 
thou hast sustained at my hands." And the knight 
plighted him his faith thereto. 

Then Peredur rode forward. And above him he 
beheld a castle, and thitherward he went. And he 
struck upon the gate with his lance, and then, behold 
a comely auburn-haired youth opened the gate, and 
he had the stature of a warrior, and the years of a 
boy. And when Peredur came into the hall, there 
was a tall and stately lady sitting in a chair, and 
many handmaidens around her ; and the lady re- 
joiced at his coming. And when it was time, they 
went to meat. And after their repast was finished, 
" It were well for thee, chieftain,'' said she, " to go 
elsewhere to sleep." *' Wherefore can I not sleep 
here ? " said Peredur. " Nine sorceresses are here, 
my soul, of the sorceresses of Gloucester, and their 
father and their mother are with them ; and unless 
we can make our escape before daybreak, we shall 
be slain ; and already they have conquered and laid 
waste all the country, except this one dwelling." 
" Behold," said Peredur, ^' I will remain here to-night, 
and if you are in trouble, I will do you what service 
I can ; but harm shall you not receive from me." So 
they went to rest. And with the break of day, 
Peredur heard a dreadful outcry. And he hastily 
arose, and went forth in his vest and his doublet, 
with his sword about his neck, and he saw a sorceress 
overtake one of the watch, who cried out violently. 
Peredur attacked the sorceress, and struck her upon 



72 THE MABINOGION 

the head with his sword, so that he flattened her 
helmet and her headpiece Uke a dish upon her head. 
"Thy mercy, goodly Peredur, son of Evrawc, and 
the mercy of Heaven." " How knowest thou, hag, 
that I am Peredur?" "By destiny, and the fore- 
knowledge that I should suffer harm from thee. 
And thou shalt take a horse and armour of me ; 
and with me thou shalt go to learn chivalry and the 
use of thy arms." Said Peredur, "Thou shalt have 
mercy, if thou pledge thy faith thou wilt never more 
injure the dominions of the Countess." And Peredur 
took surety of this, and with permission of the 
Countess, he set forth with the sorceress to the 
palace of the sorceresses. And there he remained 
for three weeks, and then he made choice of a horse 
and arms, and went his way. 

And in the evening he entered a valley, and at the 
head of the valley he came to a hermit's cell, and 
the hermit welcomed him gladly, and there he spent 
the night. And in the morning he arose, and when 
he went forth, behold a shower of snow had fallen 
the night before, and a hawk had killed a wild fowl 
in front of the cell. And the noise of the horse 
scared the hawk away, and a raven alighted upon 
the bird. And Peredur stood, and compared the 
blackness of the raven, and whiteness of the snow, and 
the redness of the blood, to the hair of the lady that 
best he loved, which was blacker than jet, and to her 
skin which was whiter than the snow, and to the two 
red spots upon her cheeks, which were redder than 
the blood upon the snow appeared to be. 

Now Arthur and his household were in search of 
Peredur. "Know ye," said Arthur, "who is the 
knight with the long spear that stands by the brook ^ 
^ In the dingle. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 73 

up yonder?" "Lord," said one of them, "I will 
go and learn who he is." So the youth came to the 
place where Peredur was, and asked him what he 
did thus, and who he was. And from the intensity 
with which he thought upon the lady whom best 
he loved, he gave him no answer. Then the youth 
thrust at Peredur with his lance, and Peredur turned 
upon him, and struck him over his horse's crupper 
to the ground. And after this, four and twenty 
youths came to him, and he did not answer one 
more than another, but gave the same reception to 
all, bringing them with one single thrust to the 
ground. And then came Kai, and spoke to Peredur 
rudely and angrily ; and Peredur took him with his 
lance under the jaw, and cast him from him with a 
thrust, so that he broke his arm and his shoulder 
blade, and he rode over him one and twenty times. 
And while he lay thus, stunned with the violence of 
the pain that he had suffered, his horse returned 
back at a wild and prancing pace. And when the 
household saw the horse come back without his 
rider, they rode forth in haste to the place where 
the encounter had been. And when they first came 
there, they thought that Kai was slain ; but they 
found that if he had a skilful physician, he yet 
might live. And Peredur moved not from his medita- 
tion, on seeing the concourse that was around Kai. 
And Kai was brought to Arthur's tent, and Arthur 
caused skilful physicians to come to him. And 
Arthur was grieved that Kai had met with this re- 
verse, for he loved him greatly. 

*'Then," said Gwalchmai, "it is not fitting that any 
should disturb an honourable knight from his thought 
unadvisedly ; for either he is pondering some damage 
that he has sustained, or he is thinking of the lady 



74 THE MABINOGION 

whom best he loves. And through such ill-advised 
proceeding, perchance this misadventure has befallen 
him who last met with him. And if it seem well 
to thee, lord, I will go and see if this knight has 
changed from his thought ; and if he has, I will 
ask him courteously to come and visit thee." Then 
Kai was wrath, and he spoke angry and spiteful 
words. "Gwalchmai," said he, "I know that thou 
wilt bring him because he is fatigued. Little praise 
and honour, nevertheless, wilt thou have from van- 
quishing a weary knight, who is tired with fighting. 
Yet, thus hast thou gained the advantage over many. 
And while thy speech and thy soft words last, a coat 
of thin linen were armour sufficient for thee, and thou 
wilt not need to break either lance or sword in fight- 
ing with the knight in the state he is in." Then 
said Gwalchmai to Kai, "Thou mightest use more 
pleasant words, wert thou so minded ; and it behoves 
thee not upon me to wreak thy wrath and thy dis- 
pleasure. Methinks I shall bring the knight hither 
with me without breaking either my arm or my 
shoulder." Then said Arthur to Gwalchmai, " Thou 
speakest like a wise and a prudent man; go and 
take enough of armour about thee, and choose thy 
horse." And Gwalchmai accoutred himself, and rode 
forward hastily to the place where Peredur was. 

And Peredur was resting on the shaft of his spear, 
pondering the same thought, and Gwalchmai came 
to him without any signs of hostility, and said to him, 
*' If I thought that it would be as agreeable to thee as 
it would be to me, I would converse with thee. I 
have also a message from Arthur unto thee, to pray 
thee to come and visit him. And two men have 
been before on this errand." "That is true," said 
Peredur, "and uncourteously they came. They at- 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 75 

tacked me, and I was annoyed thereat, for it was not 
pleasing to me to be drawn from the thought that I 
was in, for I was thinking of the lady whom best I 
love ; and thus was she brought to my mind, — I was 
looking upon the snow, and upon the raven, and 
upon the drops of the blood of the bird that the 
hawk had killed upon the snow. And I bethought 
me that her whiteness was like that of the snow, and 
that the blackness of her hair and her eyebrows was 
like that of the raven, and that the two red spots 
upon her cheeks were like the two drops of blood." 
Said Gwalchmai, ^'This was not an ungentle thought, 
and I should marvel if it were pleasant to thee to be 
drawn from it." *'Tell me," said Peredur, "is Kai 
in Arthur's Court? '' " He is," said he, " and behold 
he is the knight that fought with thee last; and it 
would have been better for him had he not come, 
for his arm and his shoulder blade were broken with 
the fall which he had from thy spear." "Verily," 
said Peredur, " I am not sorry to have thus begun to 
avenge the insult to the dwarf and dwarfess." Then 
Gwalchmai marvelled to hear him speak of the dwarf 
and the dwarfess ; and he approached him, and threw 
his arms around his neck, and asked him what was 
his name. " Peredur the son of Evrawc am I called," 
said he, "and thou? Who art thou?" ^' I am 
called Gwalchmai," he replied. " I am right glad 
to meet with thee," said Peredur, "for in every 
country where I have been, I have heard of thy 
fame for prowess and uprightness, and I solicit thy 
fellowship." " Thou shalt have it, by my faith, and 
grant me thine," said he. "Gladly will I do so," 
answered Peredur. 

So they rode forth together joyfully towards the 
place where Arthur was ; and when Kai saw them 



76 THE MABINOGION 

coming, he said, " I knew that Gwalchmai needed 
not to fight the knight. And it is no wonder that 
he should gain fame ; more can he do by his fair 
words, than I by the strength of my arm.'' And 
Peredur went with Gwalchmai to his tent, and they 
took off their armour. And Peredur put on garments 
hke those that Gwalchmai wore ; and they went to- 
gether unto Arthur, and saluted him. ^' Behold, 
lord," said Gwalchmai, *' him whom thou hast sought 
so long." *' Welcome unto thee, chieftain," said 
Arthur. ''With me thou shalt remain; and had I 
known thy valour^ had been such, thou shouldst 
not have left me as thou didst. Nevertheless, this 
was predicted of thee by the dwarf and the dwarfess, 
whom Kai ill treated, and whom thou hast avenged." 
And hereupon, behold there came the Queen and 
her handmaidens, and Peredur saluted them. And 
they were rejoiced to see him, and bade him welcome. 
And Arthur did him great honour and respect, and 
they returned towards Caerlleon. 

And the first night, Peredur came to Caerlleon, to 
Arthur's Court, and as he walked in the city after 
his repast, behold, there met him Angharad Law 
Eurawc. " By my faith, sister," said Peredur, " thou 
art a beauteous and lovely maiden ; and were it 
pleasing to thee, I could love thee above all women." 
"I pledge my faith," said she, "that I do not love 
thee, nor will I ever do so." " I also pledge my 
faith," said Peredur, " that I will never speak a word 
to any Christian again, until thou come to love me 
above all men." 

The next day, Peredur went forth by the high road, 
along a mountain ridge^ and he saw a valley of a 
circular form, the confines of which were rocky and 

^ Progress. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC TJ 

wooded. And the flat part of the valley was in 
meadows, and there were fields betwixt the meadows 
and the wood. And in the bosom of the wood he 
saw large black houses, of uncouth workmanship. 
And he dismounted, and led his horse towards the 
wood. And a little way within the wood he saw a 
rocky ledge, along which the road lay. And upon 
the ledge was a lion bound by a chain, and sleeping. 
And beneath the lion he saw a deep pit, of immense 
size, full of the bones of men and animals. And 
Peredur drew his sword, and struck the lion, so that 
he fell into the mouth of the pit, and hung there by 
the chain ; and with a second blow he struck the 
chain, and broke it, and the lion fell into the pit, 
and Peredur led his horse over the rocky ledge, until 
he came into the valley. And in the centre of the 
valley he saw a fair castle, and he went towards it. 
And in the meadow by the Castle he beheld a huge 
grey man sitting, who was larger than any man he had 
ever before seen. And two young pages wxre shooting 
the hilts of their daggers, of the bone of the sea 
horse. And one of the pages had red hair, and the 
other auburn. And they went before him to the place 
where the grey man was. And Peredur saluted him. 
And the grey man said, " Disgrace to the beard of 
my porter." Then Peredur understood that the 
porter was the lion. And the grey man and the pages 
went together into the Castle, and Peredur accom- 
panied them \ and he found it a fair and noble place. 
And they proceeded to the hall, and the tables were 
already laid, and upon them was abundance of food 
and liquor. And thereupon he saw an aged woman 
and a young woman come from the chamber; and 
they were the most stately women he had ever seen. 
Then they washed, and went to meat, and the grey 



78 THE MABINOGION 

man sat in the upper seat at the head of the table, 
and the aged woman next to him. And Peredur 
and the maiden were placed together; and the two 
young pages served them. And the maiden gazed 
sorrowfully upon Peredur, and Peredur asked the 
maiden wherefore she was sad. ** For thee, my soul ; 
for, from when I first beheld thee, I have loved 
thee above all men. And it pains me to know that 
so gentle a youth as thou should have such a doom 
as awaits thee to-morrow. Sawest thou the numerous 
black houses in the bosom of the wood. All these 
belong to the vassals of the grey man yonder, who 
is my father. And they are all giants. And to- 
morrow they will rise up against thee, and will slay 
thee. And the Round Valley is this valley called." 
*' Listen, fair maiden, wilt thou contrive that my 
horse and arms be in |jthe same lodging with me 
to-night." " Gladly will I cause it so to be, by 
Heaven, if I can." 

And when it was time for them to sleep rather than 
to carouse, they went to rest. And the maiden 
caused Peredur's horse and arms to be in the same 
lodging with him. And the next morning Peredur 
heard a great tumult of men and horses around the 
Castle, And Peredur arose, and armed himself and 
his horse, and went to the meadow. Then the aged 
woman and the maiden came to the grey man, 
*'Lord," said they, "take the word of the youth, that 
he will never disclose what he has seen in this place, 
and we will be his sureties that he keep it." " I will 
not do so, by my faith," said the grey man. So 
Peredur fought with the host ; and towards evening, 
he had slain the one-third of them without receiving 
any hurt himself. Then said the aged woman, *^ Be- 
hold, many of thy host have been slain by the youth. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 79 

Do thou, therefore, grant him mercy.'' " I will not 
grant it, by my faith," said he. And the aged woman 
and the fair maiden were upon the battlements of the 
Castle, looking forth. And at that juncture, Peredur 
encountered the yellow-haired youth, and slew him. 
" Lord," said the maiden, " grant the young man 
mercy.'' " That will I not do, by Heaven," he 
replied ; and thereupon Peredur attacked the auburn- 
haired youth, and slew him likewise. ^' It were better 
thou hadst accorded mercy to the youth, before he 
had slain thy two sons ; for now scarcely wilt thou 
thyself escape from him." " Go, maiden, and beseech 
the youth to grant mercy unto us, for we yield our- 
selves into his hands." So the maiden came to the 
place where Peredur was, and besought mercy for her 
father, and for all such of his vassals as had escaped 
alive. "Thou shalt have it, on condition that thy 
father, and all that are under him, go and render 
homage to Arthur, and tell him that it was his vassal 
Peredur that did him this service." *'This will we 
do willingly, by Heaven." ''And you shall also 
receive baptism ; and I will send to Arthur, and 
beseech him to bestow this valley upon thee, and 
upon thy heirs after thee for ever." Then they went 
in, and the grey man and the tall woman saluted 
Peredur. And the grey man said unto him, ''Since 
I have possessed this valley, I have not seen any 
Christian depart with his life, save thyself. And we 
will go to do homage to Arthur, and to embrace the 
faith, and be baptized." Then said Peredur, "To 
Heaven I render thanks that I have not broken my 
vow to the lady that best I love, which was, that I 
would not speak one word unto any Christian." 

That night they tarried there. And the next day, 
in the morning, the grey man, with his company, set 



80 THE MABINOGION 

forth to Arthur's Court ] and they did homage unto 
Arthur, and he caused them to be baptized. And 
the grey man told Arthur, that it was Peredur that 
had vanquished them. And Arthur gave the valley 
to the grey man and his company, to hold it of 
him as Peredur had besought. And with Arthur's 
permission, the grey man went back to the Round 
Valley. 

Peredur rode forward next day, and he traversed a 
vast tract of desert, in which no dwellings were. And 
at length he came to a habitation, mean and small. 
And there he heard that there was a serpent that lay 
upon a gold ring, and suffered none to inhabit the 
country for seven miles around. And Peredur came 
to the place where he heard the serpent was. And 
angrily, furiously, and desperately, fought he with the 
serpent ; and at the last he killed it, and took away 
the ring. And thus he was for a long time without 
speaking a word to any Christian. And therefrom he 
lost his colour and his aspect, through extreme long- 
ing after the Court of Arthur, and the society of the 
lady whom best he loved, and of his companions. 
Then he proceeded forward to Arthur's Court, and on 
the road there met him Arthur's household, going on 
a particular errand, with Kai at their head. And 
Peredur knew them all, but none of the household 
recognised him. "Whence comest thou, chieftain?" 
said Kai. And this he asked him twice, and three 
times, and he answered him not. And Kai thrust 
him through the thigh with his lance. And lest he 
should be compelled to speak, and to break his vow, 
he went on without stopping. **Then," said Gwalch- 
mai, "I declare to Heaven, Kai, that thou hast acted 
ill in committing such an outrage on a youth like this, 
who cannot speak." And Gwalchmai returned back 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 8 1 

to Arthur's Court. " Lady," said he to Gwenhwyvar, 
*' seest thou how wicked an outrage Kai has com- 
mitted upon this youth who cannot speak ; for 
Heaven's sake, and for mine, cause him to have 
medical care before I come back, and I will repay 
thee the charge." 

And before the men returned from their errand, a 
knight came to the meadow beside Arthur's Palace, 
to dare some one to the encounter. And his chal- 
lenge was accepted ; and Peredur fought with him, 
and overthrew him. And for a week he overthrew 
one knight every day. 

And one day, Arthur and his household were going 
to Church, and they beheld a knight who had raised 
the signal for combat. "Verily," said Arthur, *' by 
the valour of men, I will not go hence until I have 
my horse and my arms to overthrow yonder boor." 
Then went the attendants to fetch Arthur's horse and 
arms. And Peredur met the attendants as they were 
going back, and he took the horse and arms from 
them, and proceeded to the meadow ; and all those 
who saw him arise and go to do battle with the knight, 
went upon the tops of the houses, and the mounds, 
and the high places, to behold the combat. And 
Peredur beckoned with his hand to the knight to 
commence the fight. And the knight thrust at him, 
but he was not thereby moved from where he stood. 
And Peredur spurred his horse, and ran at him wrath- 
fuUy, furiously, fiercely, desperately, and with mighty 
rage, and he gave him a thrust, deadly-wounding, 
severe, furious, adroit and strong, under his jaw, and 
raised him out of his saddle, and cast him a long way 
from him. And Peredur went back, and left the horse 
and the arms with the attendant as before, and he 
went on foot to the Palace. 



82 THE MABINOGION 

Then Peredur went by the name of the Dumb 
Youth. And behold, Angharad Law Eurawc met 
him. " I declare to Heaven, chieftain," said she, 
'' woeful is it that thou canst not speak ; for couldst 
thou speak, I would love thee best of all men ; and, 
by my faith, although thou canst not, I do love thee 
above all." " Heaven reward thee, my sister," said 
Peredur, " by my faith, I also do love thee." There- 
upon it was known that he was Peredur. And then 
he held fellowship with Gwalchmai, and Owain the 
son of Urien, and all the household, and he remained 
in Arthur's Court. 

Arthur was in Caerlleon upon Usk ; and he went 
to hunt, and Peredur went with him. And Peredur 
let loose his dog upon a hart, and the dog killed the 
hart in a desert place. And a short space from him 
he saw signs of a dwelling, and towards the dwelling 
he went, and he beheld a hall, and at the door of the 
hall he found bald swarthy youths playing at chess. 
And when he entered, he beheld three maidens sitting 
on a bench, and they were all clothed alike, as became 
persons of high rank. And he came, and sat by them 
upon the bench ; and one of the maidens looked 
steadfastly upon Peredur, and wept. And Peredur 
asked her wherefore she was weeping. "Through 
grief, that I should see so fair a youth as thou art, 
slain." '' Who will slay me ? " enquired Peredur. 
" If thou art so daring as to remain here to-night, I 
will tell thee." " How great soever my danger may 
be from remaining here, I will listen unto thee." 
"This Palace is owned by him who is my father, 
said the maiden, " and he slays every one who comes 
hither without his leave." "What sort of a man is 
thy father, that he is able to slay every one thu3 ? " 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 83 

*^A man who does violence and wrong unto his 
neighbours, and who renders justice unto none." 
And hereupon he saw the youths arise and clear the 
chessmen from the board. And he heard a great 
tumult; and after the tumult there came in a huge 
black one-eyed man, and the maidens arose to meet 
him. And they disarrayed him, and he went and sat 
down ; and after he had rested and pondered awhile, 
he looked at Peredur, and asked who the knight was. 
" Lord," said one of the maidens, *' he is the fairest 
and gentlest youth that ever thou didst see. And for 
the sake of Heaven, and of thine own dignity, have 
patience with him." " For thy sake I will have 
patience, and I will grant him his life this night." 
Then Peredur came towards them to the fire, and 
partook of food and liquor, and entered into discourse 
with the ladies. And being elated with the liquor, 
he said to the black man, '^It is a marvel to me, so 
mighty as thou sayest thou art, who could have put 
out thine eye?" " It is one of my habits," said the 
black man, *' that whosoever puts to me the question 
which thou hast asked, shall not escape with his life, 
either as a free gift, or for a price." '^ Lord," said the 
maiden, " whatsoever he may say to thee in jest, and 
through the excitement of liquor, make good that 
which thou saidest and didst promise me just now." 
''I will do so, gladly, for thy sake," said he. "Wil- 
lingly will I grant him his life this night." And that 
night thus they remained. 

And the next day the black man got up, and put 
on his armour, and said to Peredur, "Arise, man, and 
suffer death." And Peredur said unto him, " Do one 
of two things, black man ; if thou wilt fight with me, 
either throw off thy own armour, or give arms to me, 
that I may encounter thee." " Ha ! man/' said hej 



84 THE MABINOGION 

^'couldst thou fight, if thou hadst arms? Take, then, 
what arms thou dost choose." And thereupon the 
maiden came to Peredur with such arms as pleased 
him ; and he fought with the black man, and forced 
him to crave his mercy. " Black man, thou shalt 
have mercy, provided thou tell me who thou art, and 
who put out thine eye.'' '' Lord, I will tell thee, I 
lost it in fighting with the Black Serpent of the Carn. 
There is a mound, which is called the Mound of 
Mourning ; and on the mound there is a carn, and in 
the carn there is a serpent, and on the tail of the 
serpent there is a stone, and the virtues of the stone 
are such, that whosoever should hold it in one hand, 
in the other he will have as much gold as he may 
desire. And in fighting with this serpent was it that 
I lost my eye. And the Black Oppressor am I called. 
And for this reason I am called the Black Oppressor, 
that there is not a single man around me whom I have 
not oppressed, and justice have I done unto none." 
"Tell me" said Peredur, "how far is it hence?" 
" The same day that thou settest forth, thou wilt come 
to the Palace of the Sons of the King of the Tortures." 
"Wherefore are they called thus?" "The Addanc 
of the Lake slays them once every day. When thou 
goest thence, thou wilt come to the Court of the 
Countess of the Achievements." "What achieve- 
ments are there ?" asked Peredur. "Three hundred 
men there are in her household, and unto every 
stranger that comes to the Court, the achievements of 
her household are related. And this is the manner of 
it, — the three hundred men of the household sit next 
unto the Lady ; and that not through disrespect unto 
the guests, but that they may relate the achievements 
of the household. And the day that thou goest thence, 
thou wilt reach the Mound of Mourning, and round 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 85 

about the mound there are the owners of three 
hundred tents guarding the serpent." " Since thou 
hast, indeed, been an oppressor so long," said Peredur, 
" I will cause that thou continue so no longer." So 
he slew him. 

Then the maiden spoke, and began to converse 
with him. " If thou wast poor when thou earnest 
here, henceforth thou wilt be rich through the treasure 
of the black man whom thou hast slain. Thou seest 
the many lovely maidens that there are in this Court, 
thou shalt have her whom thou best likest for the lady 
of thy love.'' '* Lady, I came not hither from my 
country to woo ; but match yourselves as it liketh you 
with the comely youths I see here ; and none of your 
goods do I desire, for I need them not." Then 
Peredur rode forward, and he came to the Palace of 
the Sons of the King of the Tortures ; and when he 
entered the Palace, he saw none but women ; and 
they rose up, and were joyful at his coming ; and as 
they began to discourse with him, he beheld a charger 
arrive, with a saddle upon it, and a corpse in the 
saddle. And one of the women arose, and took the 
corpse from the saddle, and anointed it in a vessel of 
warm water, which was below the door, and placed 
precious balsam upon it ; and the man rose up alive, 
and came to the place where Peredur was, and greeted 
him, and was joyful to see him. And two other men 
came in upon their saddles, and the maiden treated 
these two in the same manner as she had done the 
first. Then Peredur asked the chieftain wherefore it 
was thus. And they told him, that there was an 
Addanc in a cave, which slew them once every day. 
And thus they remained that night. 

And next morning the youths arose to sally forth, 
and Peredur besought them, for the sake of the ladies 



86 THE MABINOGION 

of their love, to permit him to go with them ; but they 
refused him, saying, " If thou shouldst be slain there, 
thou hast none to bring thee back to life again." 
And they rode forward, and Peredur followed after 
them ; and after they had disappeared out of his sight, 
he came to a mound, whereon sat the fairest lady he 
had ever beheld. '' I know thy quest,'' said she, 
" thou art going to encounter the Addanc, and he will 
slay thee, and that not by courage, but by craft. He 
has a cave, and at the entrance of the cave there is a 
stone pillar, and he sees every one that enters, and 
none see him ; and from behind the pillar he slays 
every one with a poisonous dart. And if thou wouldst 
pledge me thy faith, to love me above all women, I 
would give thee a stone, by which thou shouldst see 
him when thou goest in, and he should not see thee." 
*'I will, by my troth," said Peredur, *' for when first 
I beheld thee, I loved thee ; and where shall I seek 
thee ? " " When thou seekest me, seek towards India." 
And the maiden vanished, after placing the stone in 
Peredur's hand. 

And he came towards a valley, through which ran 
a river ; and the borders of the valley were wooded, 
and on each side of the river were level meadows. 
And on one side of the river he saw a flock of white 
sheep, and on the other a flock of black sheep. And 
whenever one of the white sheep bleated, one of the 
black sheep would cross over, and become white ; and 
when one of the black sheep bleated, one of the white 
sheep would cross over, and become black. And he 
saw a tall tree by the side of the river, one half of 
which was in flames from the root to the top, and the 
other half was green and in full leaf. And nigh 
thereto he saw a youth sitting upon a mound, and two 
greyhounds, white-breasted, and spotted, in leashes, 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 8/ 

lying by his side. And certain was he, that he had 
never seen a youth of so royal a bearing as he. And 
in the wood opposite he heard hounds raising a herd 
of deer. And Peredur saluted the youth, and the 
youth greeted him in return. And there were three 
roads leading from the mound; two of them were 
wide roads, and the third was more narrow. And 
Peredur enquired where the three roads went. " One 
of them goes to my palace," said the youth, '*and one 
of two things I counsel thee to do, either to proceed 
to my palace, which is before thee, and where thou 
wilt find my wife, or else to remain here to see the 
hounds chasing the roused deer from the wood to the 
plain. And thou shalt see the best greyhounds thou 
didst ever behold, and the boldest in the chase, kill 
them by the water beside us; and when it is time to 
go to meat, my page will come with my horse to meet 
me, and thou shalt rest in my palace to-night." 
" Heaven reward thee ; but I cannot tarry, for onw^ard 
must I go." ''The other road leads to the town, 
which is near here, and wherein food and liquor may 
be bought ; and the road which is narrower than the 
others goes towards the cave of the Addanc." 
"With thy permission, young man, I will go that 
way." 

And Peredur went towards the cave. And he took 
the stone in his left hand, and his lance in his right. 
And as he went in, he perceived the Addanc, and he 
pierced him through with his lance, and cut off his 
head. And as he came from the cave, behold the 
three companions were at the entrance ; and they 
saluted Peredur, and told him that there was a pre 
diction that he should slay that monster. And 
Peredur gave the head to the young men, and they 
offered him in marriage whichever of the three sisters 



88 THE MABINOGION 

he might choose, and half their kingdom with her. 
" I came not hither to woo," said Peredur, " but if 
peradventure I took a wife, I should prefer your sister 
to all others." And Peredur rode forward, and he 
heard a noise behind him. And he looked back, and 
saw a man upon a red horse, with red armour upon 
him ; and the man rode up by his side, and saluted 
him, and wished him the favour of Heaven and of 
man. And Peredur greeted the youth kindly. 
"Lord, I come to make a request unto thee." 
"What wouldest thou?" "That thou shouldest take 
me as thine attendant." " Who then should I take 
as my attendant, if I did so ? '' "I will not conceal 
from thee what kindred I am of. Etlym Gleddyv 
Coch am I called, an Earl from the East Country." 
" I marvel that thou shouldest offer to become atten- 
dant to a man whose possessions are no greater than 
thine own; for I have but an earldom like thyself. 
But since thou desirest to be my attendant, I will take 
thee joyfully." 

And they went forward to the Court of the Countess, 
and all they of the Court were glad at their coming ; 
and they were told it was not through disrespect they 
were placed below the household, but that such was 
the usage of the Court. For, whoever should over- 
throw the three hundred men of her household, would 
sit next the Countess, and she would love him above 
all men. And Peredur having overthrown the three 
hundred men of her household, sat down beside her, 
and the Countess said, " I thank Heaven that I have 
a youth so fair and so valiant as thou, since I have 
not obtained the man whom best I love." " Who is 
he whom best thou lovest ? " " By my faith, Etlym 
Gleddyv Coch is the man whom I love best, and I 
have never seen him." "Of a truth, Etlym is my 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 89 

companion ; and behold here he is, and for his sake 
did I come to joust with thy household. And he 
could have done so better than I, had it pleased him. 
And I do give thee unto him." " Heaven reward 
thee, fair youth, and I will take the man whom I love 
above all others." And the Countess became Etlym's 
bride from that moment. 

And the next day Peredur set forth towards the 
Mound of Mourning. " By thy hand, lord, but I will 
go with thee," said.Etlym. Then they went forwards 
till they came in sight of the mound and the tents. 
" Go unto yonder men," said Peredur to Eilym, " and 
desire them to come and do me homage." So Etlym 
went unto them, and said unto them thus — ''Come 
and do homage to my lord." " Who is thy lord ? " 
said they. " Peredur with the long lance is my lord," 
said Etlym. "Were it permitted to slay a messenger, 
thou shouldest not go back to thy lord alive, for 
making unto Kings, and Earls, and Barons, so 
arrogant a demand as to go and do him homage." 
Peredur desired him to go back to them, and to give 
them their choice, either to do him homage or to do 
battle with him. And they chose rather to do battle. 
And that day Peredur overthrew the owners of a 
hundred tents. And the next day he overthrew the 
owners of a hundred more; and the third day the 
remaining hundred took counsel to do homage to 
Peredur. And Peredur enquired of them, wherefore 
they were there. And they told him they were guard- 
ing the serpent until he should die. " P'or then 
should we fight for the stone among ourselves, and 
whoever should be conqueror among us would have 
the stone." "Await here," said Peredur, "and I will 
go to encounter the serpent." " Not so, lord," said 
they, "we will go altogether to encounter the serpent." 



90 THE MABINOGION 

** Verily," said Peredur, " that will I not permit ; for 
if the serpent be slain, I shall derive no more fame 
therefrom than one of you." Then he went to the 
place where the serpent was, and slew it, and came 
back to them, and said, " Reckon up what you have 
spent since you have been here, and I will repay you 
to the full." And he paid to each what he said was 
his claim. And he required of them only that they 
should acknowledge themselves his vassals. And he 
said to Etlym, " Go back unto her whom thou lovest 
best, and I will go forwards, and I will reward thee 
for having been my attendant." And he gave Etlym 
the stone. ^' Heaven repay thee and prosper thee," 
said Etlym. 

And Peredur rode thence, and he came to the 
fairest valley he had ever seen, through which ran a 
river; and there he beheld many tents of various 
colours. And he marvelled still more at the number 
of water-mills and of wind-mills that he saw. And 
there rode up with him a tall auburn-haired man, in a 
workman's garb, and Peredur enquired of him who he 
was. *' I am the chief miller," said he, ^* of all the 
mills yonder." ^'Wilt thou give me lodging?" said 
Peredur. " I will, gladly," he answered. And Peredur 
came to the miller's house, and the miller had a fair 
and pleasant dwelling. And Peredur asked money 
as a loan from the miller, that he might buy meat and 
liquor for himself, and for the household, and he 
promised that he would pay him again ere he went 
thence. And he enquired of the miller, wherefore 
such a multitude were there assembled. Said the 
miller to Peredur, " One thing is certain ; either thou 
art a man from afar, or thou art beside thyself. The 
Empress of Cristinobyl the Great is here; and she 
will have no one but the man who is most valiant ; 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC QI 

for riches does she not require. And it was im- 
possible to bring food for so many thousands as are 
here, therefore were all these mills constructed.'' 
And that night they took their rest. 

And the next day Peredur arose, and he equipped 
himself and his horse for the tournament. And 
among the other tents, he beheld one, which was 
the fairest he had ever seen. And he saw a beauteous 
maiden leaning her head out of a window of the tent, 
and he had never seen a maiden more lovely than 
she. And upon her was a garment of satin. And he 
gazed fixedly on the maiden, and began to love her 
greatly. And he remained there, gazing upon the 
maiden from morning until mid-day, and from mid- 
day until evening; and then the tournament was 
ended ; and he went to his lodging, and drew off his 
armour. Then he asked money of the miller as a 
loan, and the miller's wife was wroth with Peredur ; 
nevertheless, the miller lent him the money. And 
the next day he did in like manner as he had done 
the day before. And at night he came to his lodging, 
and took money as a loan from the miller. And the 
third day, as he was in the same place, gazing upon 
the maiden, he felt a hard blow between the neck and 
the shoulder, from the edge of an axe. And when he 
looked behind him, he saw that it was the miller; 
and the miller said to him, '* Do one of two things : 
either turn thy head from hence, or go to the tour- 
nament." And Peredur smiled on the miller, and 
went to the tournament ; and all that encountered 
him that day, he overthrew. And as many as he 
vanquished, he sent as a gift to the Empress, and 
their horses and arms he sent as a gift to the wife of 
the miller, in payment of the borrowed money. 
Peredur attended the tournament until all were over- 



92 THE MABINOGION 

thrown, and he sent all the men to the prison of the 
Empress, and the horses and arms to the wife of the 
miller, in payment of the borrowed money. And the 
Empress sent to the Knight of the Mill, to ask him 
to come and visit her. And Peredur went not for 
the first nor for the second message. And the third 
time she sent an hundred knights to bring him 
against his will, and they went to him, and told him 
their mission from the Empress. And Peredur 
fought well with them, and caused them to be bound 
like stags, and thrown into the mill dyke. And the 
Empress sought advice of a wise man, who was in 
her counsel; and he said to her, "With thy per- 
mission, I will go to him myself." So he came to 
Peredur, and saluted him, and besought him, for the 
sake of the lady of his love, to come and visit the 
Empress. And they went, together with the miller. 
And Peredur went and sat down in the outer chamber 
of the tent, and she came and placed herself by his 
side. And there was but little discourse between them. 
And Peredur took his leave, and w^ent to his lodging. 
And the next day he came to visit her, and when 
he came into the tent, there was no one chamber less 
decorated than the others. And they knew not where 
he would sit. And Peredur went and sat beside the 
Empress, and discoursed with her courteously. And 
while they were .thus, they beheld a black man enter 
with a goblet full of wine in his hand. And he 
dropped upon his knee before the Empress, and 
besought her to give it to no one who would not 
fight with him for it. And she looked upon Peredur. 
" Lady," said he, *' bestow on me the goblet." And 
Peredur drank the wine, and gave the goblet to the 
miller's wife. And while they were thus, behold 
there entered a black man, of larger stature than the 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 93 

Other, with a wild beast's claw in his hand, wrought 
into the form of a goblet, and filled with wine. And 
he presented it to the Empress, and besought her to 
give it to no one but the man who would fight with 
him. **Lady," said Peredur, '' bestow it on me.'' 
And she gave it to him. And Peredur drank the 
wine, and sent the goblet to the wife of the miller. 
And while they were thus, behold a rough-looking 
crisp-haired man, taller than either of the others, came 
in with a bowl in his hand full of wine ; and he bent 
upon his knee, and gave it into the hands of the 
Empress, and he besought her to give it to none but 
him who would fight with him for it ; and she gave 
it to Peredur, and he sent it to the miller's wife. 
And that night Peredur returned to his lodging ; and 
the next day he accoutred himself and his horse, and 
went to the meadow, and slew the three men. Then 
Peredur proceeded to the tent, and the Empress said 
to him, '^ Goodly Peredur, remember the faith thou 
didst pledge me when I gave thee the stone, and thou 
didst kill the Addanc." " Lady,'' answered he, " thou 
sayest truth, I do remember it." And Peredur was 
entertained by the Empress fourteen years, as the 
story relates. 

Arthur was at Caerlleon upon Usk, his principal 
palace ; and in the centre of the floor of the hall were 
four men sitting on a carpet of velvet, Owain the son 
of Urien, and Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar, and 
Howel the son of Emyr Llydaw, and Peredur of the 
long lance. And thereupon they saw a black curly- 
headed maiden enter, riding upon a yellow mule, with 
jagged thongs in her hand, to urge it on ; and having 
a rough and hideous aspect. Blacker were her face 
^nd her two hands than the blackest iron covered 



94 THE MABINOGION 

with pitch ; and her hue was not more frightful than 
her form. High cheeks had she, and a face lengthened 
downwards, and a short nose with distended nostrils. 
And one eye was of a piercing mottled grey, and the 
other was as black as jet, deep sunk in her head. 
And her teeth were long and yellow, more yellow were 
they than the flower of the broom. And her stomach 
rose from the breast bone, higher than her chin. 
And her back was in the shape of a crook, and her 
legs were large and bony. And her figure was very 
thin and spare, except her feet and her legs, which 
were of huge size. And she greeted Arthur and all 
his household, except Peredur. And to Peredur she 
spoke harsh and angry words. *' Peredur, I greet thee 
not, seeing that thou dost not merit it. Blind was 
fate in giving thee fame and favour. When thou wast 
in the Court of the Lame King, and didst see there 
the youth bearing the streaming spear, from the points 
of which w^ere drops of blood flowing in streams, even 
to the hand of the youth, and many other wonders 
likewise, thou didst not enquire their meaning nor 
their cause. Hadst thou done so, the King would 
have been restored to health, and his dominions to 
peace. Whereas, from henceforth, he will have to 
endure battles and conflicts, and his knights will 
perish, and wives will be widowed, and maidens will 
be left portionless, and all this is because of thee." 
Then said she unto Arthur, " May it please thee, lord, 
my dwelling is far hence, in the stately castle of which 
thou hast heard, and therein are five hundred and 
sixty-six knights of the order of Chivalry, and the lady 
whom best he loves with each ; and whoever would 
acquire fame in arms, and encounters, and conflicts, 
he will gain it there, if he deserve it. And whoso 
would reach the summit of fame and of hgngur, I 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 95 

know where he may find it. There is a Castle on a 
lofty mountain, and there is a maiden therein, and 
she is detained a prisoner there, and whoever shall 
set her free will attain the summit of the fame of the 
world/' And thereupon she rode away. 

Said Gwalchmai, " By my faith, I will not rest 
tranquilly until 1 have proved if I can release the 
maiden." And many of Arthur's household joined 
themselves with him. Then, likewise said Peredur, 
" By my faith, I will not rest tranquilly until I know 
the story and meaning of the lance whereof the black 
maiden spoke." And while they were equipping 
themselves, behold a knight came to the gate. And 
he had the size and the strength of a warrior, and was 
equipped with arms and habiliments. And he went 
forward, and saluted Arthur and all his household, 
except Gwalchmai. And the knight had upon his 
shoulder a shield, ingrained with gold, with a fesse 
of azure blue upon it, and his whole armour was of 
the same hue. And he said to Gwalchmai, " Thou 
didst slay my lord, by thy treachery and deceit, and 
that will I prove upon thee." Then Gwalchmai rose 
up. "Behold," said he, *^here is my gage against 
thee, to maintain either in this place, or wherever else 
thou wilt, that I am not a traitor or deceiver." 
"Before the King whom I obey, will I that my 
encounter with thee take place," said the knight. 
"WilUngly," said Gwalchmai, "go forward, and I will 
follow thee." So the knight went forth, and Gwalch- 
mai accoutred himself, and there was offered unto him 
abundance of armour, but he would take none but 
his own. And when Gwalchmai and Peredur were 
equipped, they set forth to follow him, by reason of 
their fellowship, and of the great friendship that was 
between them. And they did not go after him 



96 THE MABINOGION 

in company together, but each went his own 
way. 

At the dawn of day, Gwalchmai came to a valley, 
and in the valley he saw a fortress, and within the 
fortress a vast palace, and lofty towers around it. And 
he beheld a knight coming out to hunt from the other 
side, mounted on a spirited black snorting palfrey, 
that advanced at a prancing pace, proudly stepping, 
and nimbly bounding, and sure of foot; and this was 
the man to whom the palace belonged. And Gwalch- 
mai saluted him, " Heaven prosper thee, chieftain," 
said he, "and whence comest thou?" "I come," 
answered he, "from the Court of Arthur." "And 
art thou Arthur's vassal?" "Yes, by my faith," said 
Gwalchmai. " I will give thee good counsel," said 
the knight. " I see that thou art tired and weary, go 
unto my palace, if it may please thee, and tarry there 
to-night." " Willingly, lord," said he, " and Heaven 
reward thee." " Take this ring as a token to the 
porter, and go forward to yonder tower, and therein 
thou wilt find my sister." And Gwalchmai went to 
the gate, and shewed the ring, and proceeded to the 
tower. And on entering, he beheld a large blazing 
fire, burning without smoke, and with a bright and 
lofty flame, and a beauteous and stately maiden was 
sitting on a chair by the fire. And the maiden was 
glad at his coming, and welcomed him, and advanced 
to meet him. And he went and sat beside the maiden, 
and they took their repast. And when their repast 
was over, they discoursed pleasantly together. And 
while they were thus, behold there entered a venerable 
hoary-headed man. "Ah! base girl," said he, "if 
thou didst think that it was right for thee to entertain 
and to sit by yonder man ; thou wouldest not do so." 
And he withdrew his head^ and went forth, " Ha ! 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 97 

chieftain," said the maiden, "if thou wilt do as I 
counsel thee, thou wilt shut the door, lest the man 
should have a plot against thee." Upon that Gwalch- 
mai arose, and when he came near unto the door, the 
man, with sixty others, fully armed, were ascending 
the tower. And Gwalchmai defended the door with 
a chess-board, that none might enter until the man 
should return from the chase. And thereupon, behold 
the earl arrived. "What is all this?" asked he. 
"It is a sad thing," said the hoary-headed man, "the 
young girl yonder has been sitting and eating with 
him who slew your father. He is Gwalchmai the son 
of Gwyar." " Hold thy peace, then," said the earl, 
" I will go in." And the earl was joyful concerning 
Gwalchmai. " Ha ! chieftain," said he, " it was wrong 
of thee to come to my Court, when thou knewest that 
thou didst slay my father; and though we cannot 
avenge him. Heaven will avenge him upon thee." 
"My soul," said Gwalchmai, "thus it is ; I came not 
here either to acknowledge or to deny having slain 
thy father ; but I am on a message from Arthur, and 
therefore do I crave the space of a year until I shall 
return from my embassy, and then, upon my faith, I 
will come back unto this palace, and do one of two 
things, either acknowledge it, or deny it." And the 
time was granted him willingly ; and he remained 
there that night. And the next morning he rode 
forth. And the story relates nothing further of 
Gwalchmai respecting this adventure. 

And Peredur rode forward. And he wandered 
over the whole island, seeking tidings of the black 
maiden, and he could meet with none. And he came 
to an unknown land, in the centre of a valley, watered 
by a river. And as he traversed the valley, he beheld 
a horseman coming towards him, and wearing the 

G 



98 THE MABINOGION 

garments of a priest, and he besought his blessing. 
" Wretched man," said he, " thou meritest no blessing, 
and thou wouldst not be profited by one, seeing that 
thou art clad in armour on such a day as this." 
^' And what day is to-day ? " said Peredur. " To-day 
is Good Friday," he answered. *' Chide me not, that 
I knew not this, seeing that it is a year to-day since I 
journeyed forth from my country." Then he dis- 
mounted, and led his horse in his hand. And he had 
not proceeded far along the high road before he came 
to a cross road, and the cross road traversed a wood. 
And on the other side of the wood he saw an un- 
fortified castle, which appeared to be inhabited. And 
at the gate of the castle there met him the priest 
whom he had seen before, and he asked his blessing. 
" The blessing of Heaven be unto thee," said he, *' it 
is more fitting to travel in thy present guise, than as 
thou wast erewhile ; and this night thou shalt tarry 
with me." So he remained there that night. 

And the next day Peredur sought to go forth. 
'* To-day may no one journey. Thou shalt remain 
with me to-day and to-morrow, and the day following, 
and I will direct thee as best I may to the place which 
thou art seeking." And the fourth day Peredur 
sought to go forth, and he entreated the priest to tell 
him how he should find the Castle of Wonders. 
" What I know thereof, I will tell thee,'' he replied. 
" Go over yonder mountain, and on the other side of 
the mountain thou wilt come to a river, and in the 
valley wherein the river runs is a King's Palace, 
wherein the King sojourned during Easter. And if 
thou mayest have tidings anywhere of the Castle of 
Wonders, thou wilt have them there." 

Then Peredur rode forward. And he came to the 
valley in which was the river, and there met him a 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 99 

number of men going to hunt, and in the midst of 
them was a man of exalted rank, and Peredur saluted 
him. " Choose, chieftain," said the man, " whether 
thou wilt go with me to the chase, or wilt proceed to 
my Palace, and I will despatch one of my household 
to commend thee to my daughter, who is there, and 
who will entertain thee with food and liquor until I 
return from hunting; and whatever may be thine 
errand, such as I can obtain for thee, thou shalt 
gladly have." And the King sent a little yellow page 
with him as an attendant; and when they came to 
the palace, the lady had arisen, and was about to wash 
before meat. Peredur went forward, and she saluted 
him joyfully, and placed him by her side. And they 
took their repast. And whatsoever Peredur said unto 
her, she laughed loudly, so that all in the palace could 
hear. Then spoke the yellow page to the lady. *' By 
my faith," said he, " this youth is already thy husband ; 
or if he be not, thy mind and thy thoughts are set 
upon him." And the little yellow page went unto the 
King, and told him that it seemed to him that the 
youth whom he had met with was his daughter's 
husband, or if he were not so already, that he would 
shortly become so, unless he were cautious. "What 
is thy counsel in this matter, youth ? " said the King. 
" My counsel is," he replied, " that thou set strong 
men upon him, to seize him, until thou hast ascer- 
tained the truth respecting this." So he set strong 
men upon Peredur, who seized him, and cast him 
into prison. And the maiden went before her father, 
and asked him, wherefore he had caused the youth 
from Arthur's Court to be imprisoned. '' In truth," 
he answered, "he shall not be free to-night, nor to- 
morrow, nor the day following, and he shall not come 
from where he is." She replied not to what the king 



100 THE MABINOGION 

had said, but she went to the youth. " Is it un- 
pleasant to thee to be here ? " said she. " I should 
not care, if I were not," he replied. " Thy couch and 
thy treatment shall be in no wise inferior to that of the 
King himself, and thou shalt have the best entertain- 
ment that the palace affords. And if it were more 
pleasing to thee that my couch should be here, that I 
might discourse with thee, it should be so, cheerfully." 
"This can I not refuse," said Peredur. And he 
remained in prison that night. And the maiden 
provided all that she had promised him. 

And the next day Peredur heard a tumult in the 
town. "Tell me, fair maiden, what is that tumult?" 
said Peredur. " All the King's hosts and his forces 
have come to the town to-day." " And what seek 
they here?" he enquired. "There is an Earl near 
this place, who possesses two Earldoms, and is as 
powerful as a king ; and an engagement will take place 
between them to-day." " I beseech thee," said 
Peredur, " to cause a horse and arms to be brought, 
that I may view the encounter, and I promise to come 
back to my prison again." " Gladly," said she, "will 
I provide thee with horse and arms." So she gave 
him a horse and arms, and a bright scarlet robe of 
honour over his armour, and a yellow shield upon his 
shoulder. And he went to the combat; and as many 
of the Earl's men as encountered him that day, he 
overthrew ; and he returned to his prison. And the 
maiden asked tidings of Peredur, and he answered 
her not a word. And she went and asked tidings of 
her father, and enquired who had acquitted himself 
best of the household. And he said that he knew 
not, but that it was a man with a scarlet robe of 
honour over his armour, and a yellow shield upon his 
shoulder, Then she smiled, and returned to where 




PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC lOI 

Peredur was, and did him great honour that night. 
And for three days did Peredur slay the Earl's men ; 
and before any one could know who he was, he 
returned to his prison. And the fourth day Peredur 
slew the Earl himself. And the maiden went unto 
her father, and enquired of him the news. " I have 
good news for thee," said the King, " the Earl is slain, 
and I am the owner of his two Earldoms." '* Knowest 
thou, lord, who slew him?" ''I do not know," said 
the King. *' It was the knight with the scarlet robe 
of honour, and the yellow shield." ** Lord," said she, 
*' I know who that is." " By Heaven," he exclaimed, 
"who is he?" "Lord," she replied, "he is the 
knight whom thou hast imprisoned." Then he went 
unto Peredur, and saluted him, and told him that he 
would reward the service he had done him, in any 
way he might desire. And when they went to meat, 
Peredur was placed beside the King, and the maiden 
on the other side of Peredur, " I will give thee," 
said the King, "my daughter in marriage, and half 
my kingdom with her, and the two Earldoms as a 
gift." " Heaven reward thee, lord," said Peredur, 
" but I came not here to woo." "What seekest thou, 
then, chieftain ? " "I am seeking tidings of the Castle 
of Wonders." "Thy enterprise is greater, chieftain, 
than thou wilt wish to pursue," said the maiden, 
" nevertheless, tidings shalt thou have of the Castle, 
and thou shalt have a guide through my father's 
dominions, and a sufficiency of provisions for thy 
journey, for thou art, O chieftain, the man whom best 
I love." Then she said to him, " Go over yonder 
mountain, and thou wilt find a Lake, and in the 
middle of the Lake there is a Castle, and that is the 
Castle that is called the Castle of Wonders ; and we 



I02 THE MABINOGION 

know not what wonders are therein, but thus is it 
called." 

And Peredur proceeded towards the Castle, and the 
gate of the Castle was open. And when he came to 
the hall, the door was open, and he entered. And he 
beheld a chessboard in the hall, and the chessmen 
were playing against each other, by themselves. And 
the side that he favoured lost the game,^ and there- 
upon the others set up a shout, as though they had 
been living men. And Peredur was wroth, and took 
the chessmen in his lap, and cast the chessboard into 
the lake. And when he had done thus, behold the 
black maiden came in, and she said to him, '^ The 
welcome of Heaven be not unto thee. Thou hadst 
rather do evil than good." "What complaint hast 
thou against me, maiden ? " said Peredur. '^ That 
thou hast occasioned unto the Empress the loss of her 
chessboard, which she would not have lost for all her 
empire. And the way in which thou mayest recover 
the chessboard is, to repair to the Castle of Ysbidi- 
nongyl, where is a black man, who lays waste the 
dominions of the Empress ; and if thou canst slay 
him, thou wilt recover the chessboard. But if thou 
goest there, thou wilt not return alive." "Wilt thou 
direct me thither? " said Peredur. " I will show thee 
the way," she replied. So he went to the Castle of 
Ysbidinongyl, and he fought with the black man. 
And the black man besought mercy of Peredur. 
"Mercy will I grant thee," said he, "on condition 
that thou cause the chessboard to be restored to the 
place where it was when I entered the hall." Then 
the maiden came to him and said, " The malediction 
of Heaven attend thee for thy work, since thou hast 
left that monster alive, who lays waste all the posses- 

^ And the side that he would favour would lose the game. 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC IO3 

sions of the Empress.'^ " I granted him his Hfe," said 
Peredur, *^ that he might cause the chessboard to be 
restored." " The chessboard is not in the place 
where thou didst find it ; go back, therefore, and slay 
him," answered she. So Peredur went back, and 
slew the black man. And when he returned to the 
palace, he found the black maiden there. ''Ah! 
maiden," said Peredur, "where is the Empress?" 
" I declare to Heaven that thou wilt not see her now, 
unless thou dost slay the monster that is in yonder 
forest." ''What monster is there?" "It is a stag 
that is as swift as the swiftest bird ; and he has one 
horn in his forehead, as long as the shaft of a spear 
and as sharp as whatever is sharpest. And he 
destroys the branches of the best trees in the forest 
and he kills every animal that he meets with therein ; 
and those that he does not slay perish of hunger. 
And what is worse than that, he comes every night, 
and drinks up the fish pond, and leaves the fishes 
exposed, so that for the most part they die before the 
water returns again." "Maiden," said Peredur, "wilt 
thou come and show me this animal?" "Not so," 
said the maiden, "for he has not permitted any 
mortal to enter the forest for above a twelvemonth. 
Behold, here is a little dog belonging to the Empress, 
which will rouse the stag, and will chase him towards 
thee, and the stag will attack thee." Then the little 
dog went as a guide to Peredur, and roused the stag, 
and brought him towards the place where Peredur 
was. And the stag attacked Peredur, and he let him 
pass by him, and as he did so, he smote off his head 
with his sword. And while he was looking at the 
head of the stag, he saw a lady on horseback coming 
towards him. And she took the little dog in the 
lappet of her cap, and the head and the body of the 



104 THE MABINOGION 

stag lay before her. And around the stag's neck was 
a golden collar. *'Ha! chieftain," said she, "un- 
courteously hast thou acted in slaying the fairest jewel 
that was in my dominions." " I was intreated so to 
do ; and is there any way by which I can obtain thy 
friendship?" "There is," she replied. *^Go thou 
forward unto yonder mountain, and there thou wilt 
find a grove ; and in the grove there is a cromlech, 
do thou there challenge a man three times to fight, 
and thou shalt have my friendship." 

So Peredur proceeded onward, and came to the side 
of the grove, and challenged any man to fight. And 
a black man arose from beneath the cromlech, 
mounted upon a bony horse, and both he and his 
horse were clad in huge rusty armour. And they 
fought. And as often as Peredur cast the black man 
to the earth, he would jump again into his saddle. 
And Peredur dismounted, and drew his sword ; and 
thereupon the black man disappeared with Peredur's 
horse and his own, so that he could not gain sight of 
him a second time. And Peredur went along the 
mountain, and on the other side of the mountain he 
beheld a castle in the valley, wherein was a river. 
And he went to the castle ; and as he entered it, he 
saw a hall, and the door of the hall was open, and he 
went in. And there he saw a lame grey-headed man, 
sitting on one side of the hall, with Gwalchmai beside 
him. And Peredur beheld his horse, which the black 
man had taken, in the same stall with that of Gwalch- 
mai. And they were glad concerning Peredur. And 
he went and seated himself on the other side of the 
hoary-headed man. Then, behold a yellow-haired 
youth came, and bent upon the knee before Peredur, 
and besought his friendship. *' Lord," said the youth, 
" it was I that came in the form of the black maiden 



PEREDUR THE SON OF EVRAWC 105 

to Arthur's Court, and when thou didst throw down 
the chessboard, and when thou didst slay the black 
man of Ysbidinongyl, and when thou didst slay the 
stag, and when thou didst go to fight the black man 
of the cromlech. And I came with the bloody head 
in the salver, and with the lance that streamed with 
blood from the point to the hand, all along the shaft ; 
and the head was thy cousin's, and he was killed by 
the sorceresses of Gloucester, who also lamed thine 
uncle; and I am thy cousin. And there is a pre- 




diction that thou art to avenge these things." Then 
Peredur and Gwalchmai took counsel, and sent to 
Arthur and his household, to beseech them to come 
against the sorceresses. And they began to fight with 
them, and one of the sorceresses slew one of Arthur's 
men before Peredur's face, and Peredur bade her for- 
bear. And the sorceress slew a man before Peredur's 
face a second time, and a second time he forbade her. 
And the third time the sorceress slew a man before 



I06 THE MABINOGION 

the face of Peredur, and then Peredur drew his sword, 
and smote the sorceress on the helmet ; and all her 
head armour was split in two parts. And she set up 
a cry, and desired the other sorceresses to flee, and 
told them that this was Peredur, the man who had 
learnt Chivalry with them, and by whom they were 
destined to be slain. Then Arthur and his household 
fell upon the sorceresses, and slew the sorceresses of 
Gloucester every one. And thus is it related con- 
cerning the Castle of Wonders. 



«'«^ap^ 




"•. iV ^, ;t ^ 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY. 



Madawc the son of Maredudd possessed Powys 
within its boundaries, from Porfoed to Gwauan in 
the uplands of ArwystH. And at that time he 
had a brother, lorwerth the son of Maredudd, 
in rank not equal to himself. And lorwerth had 
great sorrow and heaviness because of the honour 
and power that his brother enjoyed, which he shared 

107 



I08 THE MABINOGION 

not. And he sought his fellows and his foster- 
brothers, and took counsel with them what he should 
do in this matter. And they resolved to despatch 
some of their number to go and seek a maintenance 
for him. Then Madawc offered him to become 
Master of the Household and to have horses, and 
arms, and honour, and to fare like as himself. But 
lorwerth refused this. 

And lorwerth made an inroad into England, 
slaying the inhabitants, and burning houses, and 
carrying away prisoners. And Madawc took counsel 
with the men of Pcwys, and they determined to place 
an hundred men in each of the three Commots of 
Powys to seek for him. And thus did they in the 
plains of Powys from Aber Ceirawc, and in Allictwn 
Ver, and in Rhyd Wilure, on the Vyrnwy, the three 
best Commots of Powys. So he was none the better, 
he nor his household, in Powys, nor in the plains 
thereof.^ And they spread these men over the plains 
as far as Nillystwn Trevan. 

Now one of the men w^ho was upon this quest was 
called Rhonabwy. And Rhonabwy and Kynwrig 
Vrychgoch, a man of Mawddwy, and Cadwgan Vras, 
a man of Moelvre in Kynlleith, came together to the 
house of Heilyn Goch the son of Cadwgan the son 
of Iddon. And when they near to the house, they 
saw an old hall, very black and having an upright 
gable, whence issued a great smoke ; and on entering, 
they found the floor full of puddles and mounds ; and 
it was difficult to stand thereon, so slippery was it 

^ And they reckoned that the corn land of Powys, from Aber 
Ceirawc in AUictun Ver to Rhyd Wihire on the Vyrnwy, was as 
good as the three best commots in Powys ; and that, if there was 
not sustenance for him and his followers in that corn land, there 
would be none in Powys. 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY IO9 

with the mire of cattle. And where the puddles were 
a man might go up to his ankles in water and dirt. 
And there were boughs of holly spread over the floor 
whereof the cattle had browsed the sprigs. When 
they came to the hall of the house, they beheld cells 
full of dust, and very gloomy,^ and on one side an old 
hag making a fire. And whenever she felt cold, she 
cast a lapful of chaff upon the fire, and raised such a 
smoke, that it was scarcely to be borne, as it rose up the 
nostrils. And on the other side was a yellow calf skin 
on the floor, a main privilege was it to any one who 
should get upon that hide. 

And when they had sat down, they asked the hag 
where were the people of the house. And the hag 
spoke not but muttered. Thereupon behold the 
people of the house entered; a ruddy, clownish 
curly-headed man, with a burthen of fagots on his 
back, and a pale slender woman, also carrying a 
bundle under her arm. And they barely welcomed 
the men, and kindled a fire with the boughs. And 
the woman cooked something and gave them to eat, 
barley bread, and cheese, and milk and water. 

And there arose a storm of wind and rain, so that 
it was hardly possible to go forth with safety. And 
being weary with their journey, they laid themselves 
down and sought to sleep. And when they looked at 
the couch, it seemed to be made but of a little coarse 
straw full of dust and vermin, with the stems of 
boughs sticking up therethrough, for the cattle had 
eaten all the straw that was placed at the head and 
the foot. And upon it was stretched an old russet- 
coloured rug, threadbare and ragged; and a coarse 
sheet, full of slits was upon the rug, and an ill-stuffed 
pillow, and a worn-out cover upon the sheet. And 
^ Scantly draped, poverty-stricken. 



no THE MABINOGION 

after much suffering from the vermin, and from 
the discomfort of their couch, a heavy sleep fell on 
Rhonabwy's companions. But Rhonabwy, not being 
able either to sleep or to rest, thought he should 
suffer less if he went to lie upon the yellow calf skin 
that was stretched out on the floor. And there he 
slept. 

As soon as sleep had come upon his eyes, it seemed 
to him that he was journeying with his companions 
across the plain of Argyngroeg, and he thought that 
he went towards Rhyd y Groes on the Severn. As 
he journeyed, he heard a mighty noise, the like 
whereof heard he never before ; and looking behind 
him, he beheld a youth with yellow curling hair, and 
with his beard newly trimmed, mounted on a chesnut 
horse, whereof the legs were grey from the top of the 
forelegs, and from the bend of the hindlegs down- 
wards. And the rider wore a coat of yellow satin 
sewn with green silk, and on his thigh was a gold- 
hilted sword, with a scabbard of new leather of 
Cordova, belted with the skin of the deer, and clasped 
with gold. And over this was a scarf of yellow satin 
wrought with green silk, the borders whereof were 
likewise green. And the green of the caparison of 
the horse, and of his rider, was as green as the leaves 
of the fir tree, and the yellow was as yellow as the 
blossom of the broom. So fierce was the aspect of 
the knight, that fear seized upon them, and they 
began to flee. And the knight pursued them. And 
when the horse breathed forth, the men became 
distant from him, and when he drew in his breath, 
they were drawn near to him, even to the horse's 
chest. And when he had overtaken them, they 
besought his mercy. ''You have it gladly ! " said he, 
"fear nought." "Ha, chieftain, since thou hast 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY III 

mercy upon me, tell me also who thou art," said 
Rhonabwy. "I will not conceal my lineage from 
thee. I am Iddawc the son of Mynyo, yet not by my 
name, but by my nickname am I best known." ^' And 
wilt thou tell us what thy nickname is ? " "I will tell 
you ; it is Iddawc Cordd Prydain." " Ha, chieftain," 
said Rhonabwy, "why art thou called thus?" ''I 
will tell thee. I was one of the messengers between 
Arthur and Medrawd his nephew, at the battle of 
Camlan ; and I was then a reckless youth, and 
through my desire for battle, I kindled strife between 
them, and stirred up wrath, when I was sent by 
Arthur the Emperor to reason with Medrawd, and to 
shew him, that he was his foster-father and his uncle, 
and to seek for peace, lest the sons of the Kings of 
the Island of Britain, and of the nobles, should be 
slain. And whereas Arthur charged me with the 
fairest sayings he could think of, I uttered unto 
Medrawd the harshest I could devise. And therefore 
am I called Iddawc Cordd Prydain, for from this did 
the battle of Camlan ensue. And three nights before 
the end of the battle of Camlan I left them, and went 
to the Llech Las in North Britain to do penance. 
And there I remained doing penance seven years, and 
after that I gained pardon." 

Then lo ! they heard a mighty sound which was 
much louder than that which they had heard before, 
and when they looked round towards the sound; 
behold a ruddy youth, without beard or whiskers,^ 
noble of mien, and mounted on a stately courser. 
And from the shoulders and the front of the knees 
downwards the horse was bay. And upon the man 
was a dress of red satin wrought with yellow silk, and 
yellow were the borders of his scarf. And such parts 

^ Moustache. 



112 THE MABINOGION 

of his apparel and of the trappings of his horse as 
were yellow, as yellow were they as the blossom of the 
broom, and such as were red, were as ruddy as the 
ruddiest blood in the world. 

Then behold the horseman overtook them, and he 
asked of Iddawc a share of the little men that were 
with him. *' That which is fitting for me to grant I 
will grant, and thou shalt be a companion to them as I 
have been." And the horseman went away. 
*' Iddawc," enquired Rhonabwy, "who was that 
horseman?" " Rhuvawn Pebyr, the son of Prince 
Deorthach." 

And they journeyed over the plain of Argyngroeg 
as far as the ford of Rhyd y Groes on the Severn. 
And for a mile around the ford on both sides of the 
road, they saw tents and encampments, and there was 
the clamour of a mighty host. And they came to the 
edge of the ford, and there they beheld Arthur sitting 
on a flat island below the ford, having Bedwini ^ the 
Bishop on one side of him, and Gwarthegyd the son 
of Kaw on the other. And a tall auburn-haired youth 
stood before him, with his sheathed sword in his hand, 
and clad in a coat and a cap of jet black satin. And 
his face was white as ivory, and his eyebrows black as 
jet, and such part of his wrist as could be seen between 
his glove and his sleeve was whiter than the lily, and 
thicker than a warrior's ankle. 

Then came Iddawc and they that were with him, 
and stood before Arthur, and saluted him. " Heaven 
grant thee good," said Arthur. *' And where, Iddawc, 
didst thou find these little men?" "I found them, 
lord, up yonder on the road." Then the Emperor 
smiled. " Lord," said Iddawc, " wherefore dost thou 
laugh?" "Iddawc," replied Arthur, "I laugh not; 

^ Bedwin, 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY IlJ 

but it pitieth me that men of such stature as these 
should have this Island in their keeping, after the 
men that guarded it of yore." Then said Iddawc, 
" Rhonabwy, dost thou see the ring with a stone set 
in it, that is upon the Emperor's hand?" '* I see it," 
he answered. "It is one of the properties of that 
stone, to enable thee to remember that thou seest 
here to-night, and hadst thou not seen the stone, thou 
wouldest never have been able to remember aught 
thereof." 

After this they saw a troop coming towards the 
ford. *^ Iddawc," enquired Rhonabwy, "to whom 
does yonder troop belong ? " " They are the fellows 
of Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of Prince Deorthach. 
And these men are honourably served with mead and 
bragget, and are freely beloved by the daughters of 
the kings of the Island of Britain. And this they 
merit, for they were ever in the front and the rear in 
every peril." And he saw but one hue upon the men 
and the horses of this troop, for they were all as red 
as blood. And when one of the knights rode forth 
from the troop, he looked like a pillar of fire glancing 
athwart the sky. And this troop encamped above the 
ford. 

Then they beheld another troop coming towards 
the ford, and these from their horses' chests upwards 
were whiter than the lily, and below blacker than jet. 
And they saw one of these knights go before the rest, 
and spur his horse into the ford in such a manner 
that the water dashed over Arthur and the Bishop, 
and those holding counsel with them, so that they 
were as wet as if they had been drenched in the river. 
And as he turned the head of his horse, the youth 
who stood before Arthur struck the horse over the 
nostrils with his sheathed sword, so that had it been 

H 



114 THE MABINOGION 

with the bare blade it would have been a marvel if the 
bone had not been wounded as well as the flesh. 
And the knight drew his sword half out of the 
scabbard, and asked of him, *' Wherefore didst thou 
strike my horse? Whether was it in insult or in 
counsel unto me ? " ^' Thou dost indeed lack 
counsel. What madness caused thee to ride so 
furiously as to dash the water of the ford over Arthur, 
and the consecrated Bishop, and their counsellors, so 
that they were as wet as if they had been dragged out 
of the river?" '*As counsel then will I take it." So 
he turned his horse's head round towards his army. 

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who was yonder 
knight ? " "The most eloquent and the wisest youth 
that is in this Island ; Adaon the son of Tahesin." 
"Who was the man that struck his horse?" ^*A 
youth of froward nature ; Elphin the son of 
Gwyddno." 

Then spake a tall and stately man, of noble and 
flowing speech, saying that it was a marvel that so 
vast a host should be assembled in so narrow a space, 
and that it was a still greater marvel that those should 
be there at that time who had promised to be 
by mid-day in the battle of Badon, fighting with 
Osla Gyllellvawr. "Whether thou mayest choose to 
proceed or not, I will proceed." "Thou sayest 
well," said Arthur, "and we will go all together." 
" Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, " who was the man who 
spoke so marvellously unto Arthur erewhile ? " "A 
man who may speak as boldly as he listeth, Caradawc 
Vreichvras, the son of Llyr Marini, his chief counsellor 
and his cousin." 

Then Iddawc took Rhonabwy behind him on his 
horse, and that mighty host moved forward, each 
troop in its order, towards Cevndigoll. And w^hen 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY II5 

they came to the middle of the ford of the Severn, 
Iddawc turned his horse's head, and Rhonabwy 
looked along the valley of the Severn. And he 
beheld two fair troops coming towards the ford. One 
troop there came of brilliant white, whereof every one 
of the men had a scarf of white satin with jet black 
borders. And the knees and the tops of the 
shoulders of their horses were jet black, though they 
were of a pure white in every other part. And their 
banners were pure white, with black points to them 
all. 

*' Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, ^* who are yonder pure 
white troop ? " " They are the men of Norway, and 
March the son of Meirchion is their prince. And he is 
cousin unto Arthur." And further on he saw a troop, 
whereof each man wore garments of jet black, with 
borders of pure white to every scarf; and the tops of 
the shoulders and the knees of their horses were pure 
white. And their banners were jet black with pure 
white at the point of each. 

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who are the jet black 
troop yonder ? " " They are the men of Denmark, and 
Edeyrn the son of Nudd is their prince." 

And when they had overtaken the host, Arthur and 
his army of mighty ones dismounted below Caer 
Badon, and he perceived that he and Iddawc 
journeyed the same road as Arthur. And after they 
had dismounted he heard a great tumult and 
confusion amongst the host, and such as were then at 
the flanks, turned to the centre, and such as had 
been in the centre moved to the flanks. And then, 
behold, he saw a knight coming, clad, both he and 
his horse, in mail, of which the rings were whiter than 
the whitest lily, and the rivets redder than the ruddies^ 
blood. And he rode amongst the host. 



Il6 THE MABINOGION 

^* Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, " will yonder host flee ? " 
*• King Arthur never fled, and if this discourse of thine 
were heard, thou wert a lost man. But as to the 
knight whom thou seest yonder, it is Kai. The 
fairest horseman is Kai in all Arthur's Court ; and the 
men who are at the front of the army hasten to the 
rear to see Kai ride, and the men who are in the 
centre, flee to the side from the shock of his horse.^ 
And this is the cause of the confusion of the host.'' 

Thereupon they heard a call made for Kadwr, Earl 
of Cornwall, and behold he arose with the sword of 
Arthur in his hand. And the similitude of two 
serpents was upon the sword in gold. And when the 
sword was drawn from its scabbard, it seemed as if 
two flames of fire burst forth from the jaws of the 
serpents, and then, so wonderful was the sword, that 
it was hard for any one to look upon it. And the 
host became still, and the tumult ceased, and the 
Earl returned to the tent. 

" Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, " who is the man who 
bore the sword of Arthur ? " " Kadwr, the Earl of 
Cornwall, whose duty is to arm the King on the days 
of battle and warfare." 

And they heard a call made for Eirynwych 
Amheibyn, Arthur's servant, a red, rough, ill-favoured 
man, having red whiskers ^ with bristly hairs. And 
behold he came upon a tall red horse, with the mane 
parted on each side, and he brought with him a large 
and beautiful sumpter pack. And the huge red youth 
dismounted before Arthur, and he drew a golden 
chair out of the pack, and a carpet of diapered satin. 
And he spread the carpet before Arthur, and there 
was an apple of ruddy gold at each corner thereof, 

^ Foriear of being crushed by his horse. 
2 A red moustache. 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY II7 

and he placed the chair upon the carpet. And so 
large was the chair that three armed warriors might 
have sat therein. Gwenn was the name of the carpet, 
and it was one of its properties, that whoever was 
upon it no one could see him, and he could see 
every one. And it would retain no colour but its 
own. 

And Arthur sat within the carpet, and Owain the 




son of Urien was standing before him. *' Owain," 
said Arthur, " wilt thou play chess ? " "I will. Lord," 
said Owain. And the red youth brought the chess 
for Arthur and Owain ; golden pieces and a board of 
silver. And they began to play. 

And while they were thus, and when they were best 
amused with their game, behold they saw a white tent 
with a red canopy, and the figure of a jet black 



Il8 THE MABINOGION 

serpent on the top of the tent, and red glaring 
venomous eyes in the head of the serpent, and a red 
flaming tongue. And there came a young page with 
yellow curling hair, and blue eyes, and a newly 
springing beard, wearing a coat and a surcoat of 
yellow satin, and hose of thin greenish yellow cloth 
upon his feet, and over his hose shoes of parti- 
coloured leather, fastened at the insteps with golden 
clasps. And he bore a heavy three-edged sword with 
a golden hilt, in a scabbard of black leather tipped 
with fine gold. And he came to the place where the 
Emperor and Owain were playing at chess. 

And the youth saluted Owain. And Owain 
marvelled that the youth should salute him and should 
not have saluted the Emperor Arthur. And Arthur 
knew what was in Owain's thought. And he said to 
Owain, '' Marvel not that the youth salutes thee now, 
for he saluted me erewhile ; and it is unto thee that 
his errand is." Then said the youth unto Owain, 
" Lord, is it with thy leave that the young pages and 
attendants of the Emperor harass and torment and 
worry the Ravens ? And if it be not with thy leave, 
cause the Emperor to forbid them." "Lord," said 
Owain, " thou hearest what the youth says ; if it seem 
good to thee, forbid them from my Ravens." "Play 
thy game," said he. Then the youth returned to the 
tent. 

That game did they finish, and another they began, 
and when they were in the midst of the game, behold, 
a ruddy young man with auburn curling hair, and 
large eyes, well grown, and having his beard new shorn, 
came forth from a bright yellow tent, upon the summit 
of which was the figure of a bright red lion. And he 
was clad in a coat of yellow satin, falling as low as the 
small of his leg, and embroidered with threads of red 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY II9 

silk. And on his feet were hose of fine white 
buckram, and buskins of black leather were over his 
hose, whereon were golden clasps. And in his hand 
a huge, heavy, three-edged sword, with a scabbard of 
red-deer hide, tipped with gold. And he came to the 
place where Arthur and Owain were playing at chess. 
And he saluted him. And Owain was troubled at his 
salutation, but Arthur minded it no more than before. 
And the youth said unto Owain, ''Is it not against 
thy will that the attendants of the Emperor harass thy 
Ravens, killing some and worrying others ? If against 
thy will it be, beseech him to forbid them.'^ " Lord,'' 
said Owain, "forbid thy men if it seem good to thee." 
"Play thy game," said the Emperor. And the youth 
returned to the tent. 

And that game was ended, and another begun. 
And as they were beginning the first move of the 
game, they beheld at a small distance from them a 
tent speckled yellow, the largest ever seen, and the 
figure of an eagle of gold upon it, and a precious 
stone on the eagle's head. And coming out of the 
tent, they saw a youth with thick yellow hair upon his 
head, fair and comely, and a scarf of blue satin upon 
him, and a brooch of gold in the scarf upon his right 
shoulder as large as a warrior's middle finger. And 
upon his feet were hose of fine Totness, and shoes of 
parti-coloured leather, clasped with gold, and the 
youth was of noble bearing, fair of face, with ruddy 
cheeks and large hawk's eyes. In the hand of the 
youth was a mighty lance, speckled yellow, with a 
newly sharpened head ; and upon the lance a banner 
displayed. 

Fiercely angry, and with rapid pace, came the 
youth to the place where Arthur was playing at chess 
with Owain. And they perceived that he was wroth. 



120 THE MABINOGION 

And thereupon he saluted Owain, and told him that 
his Ravens had been killed, the chief part of them, 
and that such of them as were not slain were so 
wounded and bruised that not one of them could 
raise its wings a single fathom above the earth. 
"Lord," said Owain, "forbid thy men/' "Play,'' 
said he " if it please thee." Then said Owain to the 
youth, " Go back, and wherever thou findest the 
strife at the thickest, there lift up the banner, and let 
come what pleases Heaven." So the youth returned 
back to the place where the strife bore hardest upon 
the Ravens, and he lifted up the banner ; and as he 
did so they all rose up in the air, wrathful and fierce 
and high of spirit, clapping their wings in the wind, 
and shaking off the weariness that was upon them. 
And recovering their energy and courage, furiously 
and with exultation did they, with one sweep, descend 
upon the heads of the men, who had erewhile caused 
them anger and pain and damage, and they seized 
some by the heads and others by the eyes, and some 
by the ears, and others by the arms, and carried them 
up into the air; and in the air there was a mighty 
tumult with the flapping of the wings of the 
triumphant Ravens, and with their croaking ; and 
there was another mighty tumult with the groaning of 
the men, that were being torn and wounded, and 
some of whom were slain. 

And Arthur and Owain marvelled at the tumult as 
they played at chess ; and, looking, they perceived a 
knight upon a dun-coloured horse coming towards 
them. And marvellous was the hue of the dun horse. 
Bright red was his right shoulder, and from the top of 
his legs to the centre of his hoof was bright yellow. 
Both the knight and his horse were fully equipped 
with heavy foreign armour. The clothing of the horse 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY J 21 

from the front opening upwards was of bright red 
sendal, and from thence opening downwards was of 
bright yellow sendal. A large gold-hilted one-edged 
sword had the youth upon his thigh, in a scabbard of 
light blue, and tipped with Spanish laton. The belt 
of the sword was of dark green leather with golden 
slides and a clasp of ivory upon it, and a buckle of 
jet black upon the clasp. A helmet of gold was on 
the head of the knight, set with precious stones of 
great virtue, and at the top of the helmet was the 
image of a flame-coloured leopard with two ruby-red 
stones in its head, so that it was astounding for a 
warrior, however stout his heart, to look at the face 
of the leopard, much more at the face of the knight. 
He had in his hand a blue-shafted lance, but from 
the haft to the point it was stained crimson-red, with 
the blood of the Ravens and their plumage. 

The knight came to the place where Arthur and 
Owain were seated at chess. And they perceived 
that he was harassed and vexed and weary as he came 
towards them. And the youth saluted Arthur, and 
told him, that the Ravens of Owain were slaying his 
young men and attendants. And Arthur looked at 
Owain and said, " Forbid thy Ravens." " Lord," 
answered Owain, " play thy game." And they played. 
And the knight returned back towards the strife, and 
the Ravens were not forbade any more than before. 

And when they had played awhile, they heard a 
mighty tumult, and a wailing of men, and a croaking 
of Ravens, as they carried the men in their strength 
into the air, and, tearing them betwixt them, let them 
fall piecemeal to the earth. And during the tumult 
they saw a knight coming towards them, on a light 
grey horse, and the left foreleg of the horse was jet 
black to the centre of his hoof. And the knight and 



122 



THE MABINOGION 



the horse were fully accoutred with huge heavy blue 
armour. And a robe of honour of yellow diapered 
satin was upon the knight, and the borders of the 
robe were blue. And the housings of the horse were 
jet black, with borders of bright yellow. And on the 
thigh of the youth was a sword, long, and three- 
edged, and heavy. And the scabbard was of red cut 
leather, and the belt of new red deerskin, having upon 
it many golden slides and a buckle of the bone of the 
sea horse, the tongue of which was jet black. A 
golden helmet was upon the head of the knight, 
wherein were set sapphire stones of great virtue. And 




at the top of the helmet was the figure of a flame- 
coloured lion, with a fiery-red tongue, issuing above a 
foot from his mouth, and with venomous eyes, 
crimson-red, in his head. And the knight came, 
bearing in his hand a thick ashen lance, the head 
whereof, which had been newly steeped in blood, was 
overlaid with silver. 

And the youth saluted the Emperor: '*Lord," said 
he, " carest thou not for the slaying of thy pages, and 
thy young men, and the sons of the nobles of the 
Island of Britain, whereby it will be difficult to 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY 12^ 

defend this Island from henceforward for ever?'* 
"Owain/'said Arthur, "forbid thy Ravens." "Play 
this game, Lord," said Owain. 

So they finished the game, and began another ; and 
as they were finishing that game, lo, they heard a great 
tumult and a clamour of armed men, and a croaking 
of Ravens, and a flapping of wings in the air, as they 
flung down the armour entire to the ground, and the 
men and the horses piecemeal. Then they saw 
coming a knight on a lofty-headed piebald horse. 
And the left shoulder of the horse was of bright red, 
and its right leg from the chest to the hollow of the 
hoof was pure white. And the knight and horse were 
equipped with arms of speckled yellow, variegated 
with Spanish laton. And there was a robe of honour 
upon him, and upon his horse, divided in two parts, 
white and black, and the borders of the robe of honour 
were of golden purple. And above the robe he wore 
a sword three-edged and bright, with a golden hilt. 
And the belt of the sword was of yellow goldwork, 
having a clasp upon it of the eyelid of a black sea 
horse, and a tongue of yellow gold to the clasp. 
Upon the head of the knight was a bright helmet of 
yellow laton, with sparkling stones of crystal in it, and 
at the crest of the helmet was the figure of a griffin, 
with a stone of many virtues in its head. And he 
had an ashen spear in his hand, with a round shaft, 
coloured with azure blue. And the head of the spear 
was newly stained with blood, and was overlaid with 
fine silver. 

Wrathfully came the knight to the place where 
Arthur was, and he told him that the Ravens had 
slain his household and the sons of the chief men of 
this Island, and he besought him to cause Owain to 
forbid his Ravens. And Arthur besought Owain 



124 THE MABINOGION 

to forbid them. Then Arthur took the golden chess- 
men that were upon the board, and crushed them 
until they became as dust. Then Owain ordered 
Gwres the son of Rheged to lower his banner. So it 
was lowered, and all was peace. 

Then Rhonabwy enquired of Iddawc, who were the 
first three men that came to Owain, to tell him his 
Ravens were being slain. Said Iddawc, " They were 
men who grieved that Owain should suffer loss, his 
fellow-chieftains and companions, Selyv the son of 
Kynan Garwyn of Powys, and Gwgawn Gleddyvrudd, 
and Gwres the son of Rheged, he who bears the 
banner in the day of battle and strife." *' Who,'' said 
Rhonabwy, *'were the last three men who came to 
Arthur, and told him that the Ravens were slaughter- 
ing his men ? " ** The best of men," said Iddawc, 
" and the bravest, and who would grieve exceedingly 
that Arthur should have damage in aught ; Blathaon, 
the son of Mawrheth,^ and Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of 
Prince Deorthach, and Hyveidd Unllenn." 

And with that behold four and twenty knights came 
from Osla Gyllellvawr, to crave a truce of Arthur for a 
fortnight and a month. And Arthur arose and went 
to take counsel. And he came to where a tall auburn 
curly-headed man was a little way off, and there he 
assembled his counsellors. Bedwini,^ the Bishop, and 
Gwarthegyd the son of Kaw, and March the son of 
Meirchawn, and Caradawc Vreichvras, and Gwalchmai 
the son of Gwyar, and Edeyrn the son of Nudd, and 
Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of Prince Deorthach, and 
Rhiogan the son of the King of Ireland, and 
Gwenwynwyn the son of Nav, Howel the son of 
Emyr Llydaw, Gwilym the son of Rhwyf Freinc, and 
Daned the son of Ath,^ and Goreu Custennin, and 
1 Murheth. 2 Bedwin. ^ Qth. 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY 1 25 

Mabon the son of Modron, and Peredur Paladyr Hir, 
and Hyveidd^ Unllenn, and Twrch the son of Perif, 
and Nerth the son of Kadarn, and Gobrwy the son of 
Echel Vorddwyttwll, Gwair the son of Gwestyl, and 
Gadwy^ the son of Geraint, Trystan^ the son of 
Tallwch, Moryen Manawc, Granwen the son of Llyr, 
and Llacheu the son of Arthur, and Llawvrodedd 
Varvawc, and Kadwr Earl of Cornwall, Morvran the 
son of Tegid, and Rhyawd the son of Morgant, and 
Dyvyr the son of Alun Dyved, Gwrhyr Gwalstawd 
leithoedd, Adaon the son of Taliesin, Llary^ the son 
of Kasnar^ Wledig, and Fflewddur Fflam, and 
Greidawl Galldovydd, Gilbert the son of Kadgyffro, 
Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, Gwrthmwl Wledig, 
Cawrdav the son of Caradawc Vreichvras, Gildas the 
son of Kaw, Kadyriaith the son of Saidi, and many of 
the men of Norway, and Denmark, and many of the 
men of Greece, and a crowd of the men of the host 
came to that counsel. 

" Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, " who was the auburn 
haired man to whom they came just now ? '^ " Rhun 
the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd, a man of whose 
prerogative it is, that he may join in counsel with all."^ 
" And wherefore did they admit into counsel with 
men of such dignity as are yonder a stripling so young 
as Kadyriaith the son of Saidi ? " " Because there is 
not throughout Britain a man better skilled in counsel 
than he." 

Thereupon, behold, bards came and recited verses 
before Arthur, and no man understood those verses, 

1 Heneidd. 2 Adwy. ^ Dyrstan. 

* Liar a. ^ Kasnat. 

^ It is his privilege that everyone should come to have counsel 
with him. 



126 



THE MABINOGION 



but Kadyriaith only, save that they were in Arthur's 
praise. 

And, lo, there came four and twenty asses with 
their burdens of gold and of silver, and a tired 
wayworn man with each of them, bringing tribute to 
Arthur from the Islands of Greece. Then Kadyriaith 
the son of Saidi besought that a truce might be 
granted to Osla Gyllellvawr for the space of a fortnight 
and a month, and that the asses and the burdens they 
carried might be given to the bards, to be to them as 




the reward for their stay and that their verse might be 
recompensed, during the time of the truce. And thus 
it was settled. 

" Rhonabwy," said Iddawc, " would it not be wrong 
to forbid a youth who can give counsel so liberal as 
this from coming to the councils of his Lord ? " 

Then Kai arose, and he said, *' Whosoever will 
follow Arthur, let him be with him to-night in Corn- 
wall, and whosoever will not, let him be opposed to 
Arthur even during the truce." And through the 



THE DREAM OF RHONABWY 12/ 

greatness of the tumult that ensued, Rhonabwy awoke. 
And when he awoke he was upon the yellow calf skin, 
having slept three nights and three days. 

And this tale is called The Dream of Rhonabwy. 
And this is the reason that no one knows Ihe dream 
without a book, neither bard nor gifted seer ; because 
of the various colours that were upon the horses, and 
the many wondrous colours of the arms and of the 
panoply, and of the precious scarfs, and of the virtue- 
bearing stones. 



Printed at 

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PB 2363 .M2 E5 1902 v.l IMS 
The Mabinogian 

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LIBRARY 

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I Hi ^i-*^